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Media Statement From Generation Lost Ad Organiser

Media Statement From Richard Poole
Organiser Of Generation Lost Advertisement

Just Because I Stood Up, I Shouldn't Be Shot Down

Having come back from visiting my friends overseas, their message to me was that they were never coming home. They said ‘Why would we?’

Back at home, media reports and economic data showed that New Zealand was not in good shape.

I decided that I was sick of talking about it and not doing anything about it. I therefore wrote to the PM on my own initiative at the beginning of August 2000. It was in essence a plea for her to offer me suggestions as to why I shouldn’t also pack up my bags and export my skills, like my friends were continuing to do. The PM’s office responded within a few days and said that it was better answered by the Minister of Economic Development.

After one month of no response from his office, my frustration continued and my decision to leave like everyone else got stronger as the Deputy PM did not even seem concerned.

Another letter was then sent out on my own initiative, to other politicians, media, economists and business organisations, including the NZ Business Roundtable.
The Roundtable responded promptly and eventually asked to meet and discuss my plea. I believe they felt it was a genuine one and were also concerned that it had still not been answered. We met and I asked the same question as to what I could do.

One suggestion that came up was to ask other NZ’ers if they too were disillusioned with the current environment, to get names and a financial contribution to help pay for an ad together to raise our concerns.

As this was the only organisation that showed interest and I was so keen to stay in NZ if I could, then I decided to give it a go. The Roundtable offered to assist with funds if they were needed. As it turned out in the end their help wasn't needed because we had such an overwhelming response from the hundreds of people whose names are in the ad. I would like to stress that this ad was addressed to all political leaders.

I then received a letter back from Jim Anderton, however it was too little, too late.

I emailed friends and colleagues around the world outlining my concerns and asking if they agreed would they want to help fund an ad and have their names published. I made it clear in the email that the Business Roundtable was supportive of what we were doing.

The groundswell continued and by the time the ad went to print we had 700 people who had responded positively to having their names appear in the ad. Some people emailed me specifically to say that they did not want their name to appear.

A PR company booked the ad and I concentrated on the getting the names together and drafting together the thoughts of all the respondents. All names were taken off e-mails of support and were regularly updated on what we were doing. The e-mail was by this stage flying around the world.

There were many people who contacted me and supported the cause who said they had voted for this government but were now a little disillusioned and provided it was non-political, would assist – which of course was correct as we had requested that all political leaders come together over this and there was no finger-pointing.

At the time of printing the ad, we had over 600 names on it.

The Holmes programme had contacted me weeks before as the producer thought I may know some people who would help with a brain drain story they were doing.
As a result they learned about my plight with the ad and hence asked for an interview which was of course fine.

Later, when I learned that the Roundtable had paid for some upfront costs to book the ad I repaid the amount personally to them, as I had not had time to bank the money that had begun to come in from Young New Zealanders. The payment was certainly always intended to come from our funds.

I have found it counter-productive that this has derailed an issue that the leaders and decision-makers must admit and focus on. The initiative was all mine and has been turned into some negative campaign against myself and the Roundtable it seems. They bothered to get in contact, however to the best of my knowledge we would not require support. It has been paid back and that is the end of it.

It is ridiculous that now well over 1500 people have offered support and have said they’d be happy to assist in the payment and we’ve had just under 10,000 hits to our website over the past 48 hours. This is huge for New Zealand and should be looked at for what it is trying to achieve. Remember that the PM did not seem interested enough to help my plight and still has not responded directly to me. I would have thought she would embrace the initiative. I want to stay in NZ.

I never set out to deceive anyone regarding any payments and would hope that this is clear.

I wanted to promote this ‘feeling’ that existed across the nation it seems, that something needed to be done before it was too late.

Just because I stood up, I shouldn’t be shot down. Doesn’t that detract from allowing others to do the same? We are a free country, I am an individual who seems to have struck into something big, I wanted to be heard and wasn’t listened to by those that I asked first.

To turn something positive into a negative just reassures me that present leaders don’t want to listen to reality and will do anything to avoid the facts and the feelings of a nation.

Thank you to the 1000’s who support this message – it has obviously got the country talking – and that has got to be positive.

Richard Poole
PO Box 106-374, Downtown, Auckland

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