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Meadowlark, Charlie’s succeed in spite of the big parties


November 5, 2008/0.36

There’s some good news from New Zealand-owned firms lately. First, our friends at Meadowlark have a new shop online. Secondly, we were happy to hear that Charlie’s, the orange juice company, has launched its brand into Australia, after opening a new production facility in Renmark, SA.
   New Zealand will be electing a new government on Saturday. From this magazine’s point of view, we need a government that will champion the success of small and medium-sized businesses such as Meadowlark and Charlie’s.
   The current Labour administration has had a confused economic policy at best, even though it was sincere about raising New Zealand’s standard of living and OECD ranking when first elected in 1999.
   Meanwhile, National has been less than transparent about its own policies, and even voted alongside Labour on many issues during the last three years.
   The next General Election is not so much about policy but about humanism, transparency and reciprocity.
   Labour says it’s about trust, which it is, but I do not trust Dr Cullen or his Cabinet colleagues, even if I do find the Prime Minister a decent human being on a personal level.
   I believe the government was sincere when it launched the Ministry of Economic Development but the reality is that smaller businesses like ours have not found its agencies “open for business”.
   Companies like Meadowlark found success themselves, not through governmental help. Confused policies over matters as simple as exchange rates have made life unpredictable for us. We are running businesses in spite of governmental policy.
   I am standing for the Alliance, even though fundamentally I am a Confucianist. However, Confucianism operates on certain ideals about education and till we are there, a model that sees countries aligned with corrupt financial systems and technocratic principles does not work. Confucianism cannot function when one side is corrupt because its central idea of reciprocity cannot function. I have been fighting the lack of transparency in the corporate world for most of this century, and the book that I helped author, Beyond Branding, has this as a central tenet. The Enron executives got done for what plenty of traders and banks have been doing of late.
   Keynesian economics make more sense to me in the immediate term while we cannot see a suitable level of transparency in our financial markets, provided that companies are given room to grow, and I have the assurance of fellow Alliance candidates and the leadership that that is what New Zealand companies will have.
   We know from public statistics that the gap between rich and poor has been widening since 1984.
   If we are opening up our markets, we open them to institutions that we know are beneficial to our countrymen.
   While Lucire is probably not the forum to discuss politics in depth, I can assure readers that I’m going to continue championing other small and medium-sized businesses that have done it despite government policy or vague opposition statements about the economy. So, Meadowlark and Charlie’s: congratulations to you both for growing your part of the economy—and Charlie’s, in particular, for providing us with some needed foreign exchange.

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globalization / Lucire / New Zealand / society
Filed by Jack Yan

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