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NZ must plan for the future, warns Economist editor


Thursday November 28, 2012
NZ must plan for the future, warns Economist editor

The world is changing faster than at any other time in human history and we ignore those changes at our peril, says a world-renowned expert on future trends.

Dr Daniel Franklin, who is both the executive editor and business affairs editor at The Economist, will be in New Zealand next Monday at the invitation of Massey University and Westpac. He will be the keynote speaker at the new New Zealand Forum, an invitation-only event that will identify the global trends impacting New Zealand’s future.

As the editor of Megachange – The World in 2050, Dr Franklin is well-placed to discuss the mega-trends shaping our future. He identifies the “twin forces of demography and technology” as the most important agents of change, and predicts the impact will be felt as strongly in New Zealand as anywhere else.

“The world will have an extra two billion people by 2050 and between now and then businesses will face waves of disruptive technology. Ignoring these trends is not a sensible option,” he says. “It’s far better to think hard about the implications now, so as to make the most of the opportunities and prepare for the risks ahead.”

Following his keynote speech at the forum Dr Franklin will join a panel of local thought leaders to discuss strategies for New Zealand to tackle the challenges ahead. The panelists are: lawyer and adjunct professor Mai Chen, Retirement Commissioner Diana Crossan, business commentator Rod Oram, Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens, DDB managing director Justin Mowday, TUANZ chief executive Paul Brislen, and AUT professor of indigenous studies Rawiri Taonui.

Dr Franklin says he is looking forward to exploring both the difficulties and opportunities presented by the current period of “megachange” from a New Zealand perspective – and he describes himself as an optimist.

“There are enormous challenges ahead, from managing climate change and controlling conflicts over scarce resources such as water, to feeding nine billion people and coping with a multitude of new security threats,” he says. “But I am confident that with the right policies progress is possible on most fronts.”

Massey University Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey says the University organised the forum with Westpac to create a stronger focus on New Zealand’s future.

“Massey is educating the future leaders of New Zealand and, in many cases, that means preparing them for careers that don’t yet exist,” he says. “We want to create a successful vision for our country that we can all work towards, and Massey’s contribution will come through its research and by training our students to think and work in innovative and creative ways.”

Westpac's managing director private, wealth and insurance Simon Power says: "Thinking long term is exactly what we as a country need to be doing, and having someone of Daniel Franklin's stature to assist with leading that discussion is an extraordinary opportunity. Westpac is proud to back any forum that gets us focused on what those opportunities may be."

The forum will close with a Q&A session facilitated by award-winning former political journalist Linda Clark. Dr Franklin and the panelists will take questions and comments from the audience and those not attending the event can post questions and join the conversation via twitter @newNZ_Massey.

The forum will also be live streamed at http://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/about-massey/events/new-nz-forum/en/watch-live.cfm, and a view-on-demand video of the event will be available via the same link from 5.30pm on December 3.


The new New Zealand Forum event details:

Date: Monday December 3, 2012

Time: Registration from 2.30pm
Forum 2.45pm - 5.15pm
Networking drinks until 7pm

Venue: Level 9, Westpac HQ, Takutai Square, Britomart, Auckland

This is an invitation-only event but there are some seats available for news media.

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