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Values And Value - Growth Survey

Media Release
19 April 2004


New Zealanders have strongly held values regarding quality of life and the environment and these dictate their attitudes to economic growth and innovation, says Peter Biggs, a spokesperson for the Growth and Innovation Advisory Board. And New Zealanders seem to want recognition of these values, even in the cause of greater economic growth for New Zealand.

“If we are to encourage economic growth and innovation we need to start with these core values, create a values-driven growth strategy, and move forward on that basis,” says Mr Biggs.

“Too often we look offshore for solutions to our economic problems which often operate in a different values framework to us. We need to rate homegrown approaches and develop strategies that recognise our uniqueness.

“I suspect New Zealanders have reached a point of confidence in their values that they are now a bottom line. This research tells us that if we focus on values we can generate a strong connection for Kiwis with economic growth, with creating value. Combine that with the increasing level of interest in our “New Zealandness” from consumers in other countries and we are looking at some very positive opportunities for this country.

“New Zealanders’ values, as they emerge from this research, appear as strong and clear as I have ever seen them. They centre on quality of life and environment. They are associated with key aspects of the Kiwi character which include fairness, being practical, down-to-earth, innovative, creative, ‘having a go’, team players and collaborators, resourceful and competitive (especially in that underdog sense). Quite possibly they’re a blend unique to New Zealand, but most importantly they’re ours, and we have to honour them.

“The additional buzz we get from them is that increasingly consumers of goods, services and experiences, whether they be tourists, or people overseas buying our films, fashion, food, software or beautifully designed and engineered appliances and furniture, these people are looking for things that are unique, genuine, natural and of good quality – produced with innovation and integrity - and that’s exactly what New Zealand has to offer. What’s more, these consumers are prepared to pay a premium because these qualities have become rarer.

“That’s why a focus on Kiwi values can create economic value for New Zealand. New Zealanders will be strongly motivated if their values are being reinforced rather than disregarded.

“If we confidently view the world through a values lens - those attitudes and beliefs that are so personal to us all - we will focus on creating economic value which will boost economic growth. A focus on growth without values will not work because New Zealanders have become deeply suspicious of economic growth without a values base. They see it leading to negative outcomes such as congestion, conflict, a greater gap between rich and poor, and a negative work/life balance,” says Mr Biggs.

“‘Values and value’ is a phrase we are likely to hear a lot more often. The Growth and Innovation Advisory Board intends to take this idea out to community leaders and through them to New Zealanders in all walks of life.

“This research tells us, and frankly our own intuition agrees, that this country can generate considerably more economic value, but to do that we need to have a common goal. Improving our economic position in a way that maintains and enhances our quality of life and environment is just that sort of goal. And that will make New Zealand and its products even more attractive to international consumers.

“We’ve been looking for a way in which New Zealanders can feel personally connected to growth, contribute more effectively, and get more rewarded for their contributions. In helping us understand better what Kiwis value, and the value of those values, this research gives us a good steer in the right direction,” says Mr Biggs.


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