Fresh face of NZ business challenges Govt to clean-tech push
by Pattrick Smellie
July 7 (BusinessDesk) – A who’s who of the funky in New Zealand corporate leadership has launched a direct challenge to the Government on the environment, urging adoption of a nationally agreed strategy to pursue clean technologies and protect the country’s “clean, green” brand.
Accusing the Government of a “lack of environmental leadership”, the Pure Advantage group includes Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe, former General Motors chief financial officer Chris Liddell, IceBreaker founder Jeremy Moon and the Wellington-based Morrison brothers, Lloyd and Rob.
The campaign, tag-lined “green growth for greater wealth” was unveiled tonight in Auckland.Also fronting the group are Warehouse founder Stephen Tindall, Philip Mills of the Les Mills gym franchise, 42Below and Ecoya founder Geoff Ross, veteran vintner George Fistonich, professional director Joan Withers, and New Zealand Post Ltd. deputy chair Justine Smyth.
The appeal proposes a national strategy of pursuing “green growth”, not only to prepare for a low-carbon future and create new industries, but to protect and make true the New Zealand “clean, green” brand, which it says is under threat.
“International benchmarks and recent media coverage overseas have exposed a gap between New Zealand’s clean, green rhetoric and reality,” said Rob Morrison, chair of the Pure Advantage Trust, in a statement.
“We simply can’t afford to let our reputation, and consequently our exporters, suffer because of a lack of environmental leadership,” he said. “Nor should we miss the opportunity that the global shift to green growth represents for a country like New Zealand.”
The launch comes two days after the government launched its own Green Growth discussion paper, from an advisory group chaired by Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O’Reilly, which acknowledged the importance of clean technology and the national brand but plumped for a regulatory rather than rallying cry role for the government.
“All (government) taskforces have defined parameters,” Mills told BusinessDesk. “We don’t have defined parameters. It’s a positive the taskforce is running. In many respects, we can complement what they are doing, particularly as we can look at things that they can’t.
“We think there’s an opportunity off the back of New Zealand’s credentials. We have the relevant skills and technologies, so what we are keen to see happen is that we align that with global efforts under a pure clean and green brand.”
On the government's push for more fossil fuel extraction, Morrison said: “The big trend globally is towards more efficient, lower carbon technologies. Would you rather be on the leading edge or focused on some of the legacy-style industries?”
New Zealand had slipped not only in economic competitiveness, but also in its environmental status while countries advancing up the economic rankings were also commonly investing in clean tech.
The campaign will seek to use social media to encourage a debate and the generation of ideas and support for the concept of a national strategy, based on a clean technology approach.
Pure Advantage, whose name plays on the 100% Pure national tourism campaign branding, will shortly release independent research it has commissioned on “New Zealand’s Position in the Green Race”.