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Political predictions and economic vision

02 August 2013

Political predictions and economic vision at contractors’ federation conference

Political analyst Colin James has tipped environment minister Amy Adams as a potential ‘dark horse’ successor to John Key, in a speech to the New Zealand Contractors’ Federation’s annual conference.

Mr James also told delegates at the event in Queenstown that his gut feeling was that there would be a third term National government, but the civil construction industry should plan ahead for the “90 per cent probability of a Labour/Greens based government in 2017.”

Also at the conference, former Hirepool CEO Tenby Powell, founder of the New Zealand SME Network, outlined a “vision” for boosting New Zealand’s GDP significantly, entirely through focusing on lifting the economic performance of small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

Mr Powell, who has been touring the country with The Biz roadshow, an educational initiative for SME owners, said that a key problem was that, while many SME owners are very good at the practical side of running their existing businesses, they don’t know how to develop them further.

He urged the Government to work to create a more positive environment for small business owners – including more education on how to grow their businesses, invest in their staff and build succession policies.

Above all, he said, they should build on the huge innovative talent held within SMEs.

“If New Zealand does not do better as an innovator we simply will not keep up with other advanced nations,” he said. “If we get it right, in 10 years, possibly less, we can make a significant difference to New Zealand at a macro economic level by simply focusing on the underlining value of New Zealand’s small business economy.”

The NZCF is holding the conference jointly with its Australian counterpart, the Civil contractors Federation (CCF).

It continues until Saturday with upcoming speakers including Perlina Thomas who heads the Louisiana Associated General Contractors and was at the forefront of the civil construction industry’s response following Hurricane Katrina.

Ms Thomas visited Christchurch earlier this week and will share the experiences of the contractors in the New Orleans recovery effort, as well as lessons learnt.


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