NZ needs to diversify its industry, especially supporting fibre-based industries that sell local to global.
About 20% of a local economy should be devoted to selling local to global. These are the businesses that create wealth that is then sold outside the MarketTown boundaries, and to help the balance of trade, sold overseas. Prior to the tech revolution, this tended to be limited to food and container businesses. With the tech revolution, a whole new market sector is opening up - the Internet of Things - where the key infrastructure is ultra-fast, ultra-wide broadband. The breadth of these trillion-dollar industries tend to be limited only by people's imagination, as they stimulate global trade.
This is done by creating an attractive cluster.
Attractive means the decision-makers in the business want to move there. Those decisions are
- Economic: It must make good business sense
- Personal: Will I, my family, my employees and their families enjoy living there and can we live well?
From a business perspective, New Zealand is an easy place to do business. Its taxation and legal systems are reasonably fair, and its economy is reasonably stable. However, it is in the personal experience where New Zealand can excel. Note we says "can". At present, New Zealand does not offer enough and as Auckland becomes more expensive and more congested, it becomes less attractive. Something like the MarketTown is needed to tip the balance.
Attractive means a great life experience. That is accomplished through the design of the villages, the social interaction, great food and drink and the sort of overall experience that people would travel to experience on their holidays. It begins with the absence of negatives (a safe place to raise children, for example) and then moves to an abundance of positives - a fulfilling lifestyle.
Cluster is a business concept. Silicon Valley and Mumbai are hi-tech clusters, Hollywood (and to a lesser extent Wellington) is the film cluster. Florence has its fashion cluster. In clusters, a particular industry attracts multiple businesses who may compete for business, but who also benefit from the concentration of talent that cross-fertilises. At this moment in history, the technology revolution is creating new business industries at a faster pace than ever before in history.
For example, 3D printing uses precision layering and cutting to make complex goods that exceed the quality of mass-production factories, but that eliminate the need to stockpile, ship, store and distribute to get into the hands of the customer. Instead, the "manufacturer" consists of two parts.
- The maker, who is a person who can be located anywhere there is good fibre
- The printer which is a machine located near the customer.
The maker is a high-salary job. The printer is a capital purchase supported by low-salary workers who keep the raw materials in the printer and ensure it remains calibrated. The link between them is fibre. Fibre is free in the same way a freeway is free. It may have cost a lot to build, but it is free to use. For any industry based on free fibre, New Zealand's disadvantage - it's far away from anywhere - vanishes. Fibre costs virtually nothing, and it is instant world-wide.
World-wide, some cities and nations are acutely aware of and are vying for those new business clusters. New Zealand has probably one of the best pitches to make - and internationally, that's the buzz - but as a country, and Auckland as a city, seems utterly oblivious as they focus on sprawl housing in the fringe, densification housing in the core, and spending $60 billion the city does not have on transport. We need to hit the reset button.
Freedom: In the international circles, one of the biggest NZ attractions, after the Lord of the Rings natural beauty pitch, is freedom. Increasingly, first world nations are being seen as impinging on personal liberties. New Zealand is free because it has a Jack is as good as his master" mentality that keeps the excesses of government in check. It is by nature far less judgemental than other societies. Whereas other nations suffer racism and discrimination of minorities, in New Zealand's government has a low tolerance for such behaviour and more often than not people are judged on their conduct, not on their surface appearance. Additionally, New Zealand lacks the restrictive old-boy's network found in Europe that means one has no opportunity unless one was born into the right family or went to the right school.
Safety: Count the number of police cars or cops on foot you see every hour. There are far fewer in New Zealand. The crime we complain about pales in contrast with what is suffered elsewhere. We are still a trusting country overall because the society has a lower tolerance for crime. Sure, there are deprived parts of the country where crime is a problem, but this is not endemic as it is in other countries. Overall, it's safe and this appeals to people at a primal as well as practical level.
After considering the national qualities, consider what MarketTowns bring to the table.
Economic sense: Aligning of economic interest is powerful. The MarketTown is based on market capitalism, which means that small to medium enterprises are encouraged, supported and connected to enable them to thrive. The MarketTown enables commercial buying groups to enable the private sector businesses to get more economic clout when negotiating purchases. They gain access to talent they could not afford on their own - like patent lawyers, HR experts, sophisticated legal and accounting advice.
Talent: MarketTown businesses will move into a hothouse of talent, as the intention is to create clusters that raises the skill level of everyone in the industry. And, of course, they get workers who are not spending hours on the road and not spending 25% of their income on transport. They get a town that by its very design has a healthy work-life balance.
Equanimity: Families are under less pressure because their children's home range is the village or multiple villages - it's safe, no worries about getting run over by a car, and the villages have a low tolerance for crime. Their children will be learning independence and autonomy as a part of daily life. They will have thousands of adult role models in a socially-safe environment. Families will have more connection time by not spending so much time driving. While this is a family matter, from an economic perspective, it enables people to be more effectively focused on their work-life balance which in the end makes them more effective in their business or job.