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Workshop 4

The Big Debate - Will New Zealand Get to the Top Half of the OECD by 2020?

7.30am - 9.30am, Wednesday 18 November 2009, Stamford Plaza, Auckland

Debate Format: This workshop will be a debate with 4 highly experienced, well-informed speakers, one team of two speakers arguing that New Zealand will get to the top half of the OECD by 2020 and two speakers comprising a negative team arguing that it won’t.

New Zealand is paradoxically at the forefront of the OECD in adopting policies in many areas that have been shown to lead to high per capita income, and yet it still ranks towards the bottom end of the OECD’s productivity league.

  • Can or will New Zealand return to its former place as a leading OECD country?
  • If so, what needs to be done & how long will it take?
  • Should we rely on agriculture and tourism, or must we invest in science and technology?
  • Does it really matter if we don’t? Are the OECD criteria still relevant to measuring New Zealand’s economic performance?

2009 OECD Economic Survey of New Zealand: "Whereas New Zealand had a higher living standard than the average OECD country in the early 1970s, relatively low labour productivity growth since then has opened up a large income gap relative to the OECD average and an even greater one with leading countries such as the United States."


Professor Sir Paul Callaghan
Victoria University of Wellington

Sir Paul Callaghan is a graduate of Oxford University (DPhil), and of Victoria University of Wellington where he is Alan MacDiarmid Professor of Physical Sciences. Paul is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London and is currently President of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance. He is a regular public speaker on science matters. In 2007 one of his radio series with Kim Hill appeared in book form, As Far as We Know: Conversations about Science, Life and the Universe, and a 2009 book, Wool to Weta: Transforming New Zealand's Culture and Economy, deals with the potential for science and technology entrepreneurs to diversify New Zealand's economy. 

Mr Jon Mayson
Chairman, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise

Jon Mayson is chair of the board of New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, and a past president of Export New Zealand. Previously CEO of Port of Tauranga Limited, he is a professional director and consultant and currently chairs several private company boards involved in manufactured exports and logistics. His consultancy work in New Zealand and offshore has been focused around port privatisation and transport logistics. Jon is a Fellow of the Institute of Management, a member of the Institute of Directors and has an MBA in International Management. He was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2006.


Mr Gordon McLauchlan
Author and Broadcaster

Gordon McLauchlan has been a freelance journalist/writer since 1973. He has been a books editor (New Zealand Herald), a newspaper columnist, an investigative reporter (National Business Review) and a presenter of radio and television programmes. His books include: The Passionless People (1976), a social commentary; The Acid Test (1981), an anthology of New Zealand humour; Bateman’s New Zealand Encyclopedia, (1984); The Big Con (1992), a political commentary; The Story of New Zealand Beer (1995); A History of New Zealand Humour (1998); A Short History of New Zealand (2004); A Life’s Sentences (2004), a memoir; The Farming of New Zealand (2007); The Life and Times of Auckland (2008). 


Mr Rod Oram
Business Journalist

Rod Oram has more than 30 years’ experience as an international business journalist including with the Financial Times in London and New York and as editor of Business Herald in Auckland. He is currently a columnist for the Sunday Star-Times and Good magazine; a regular broadcaster on radio and television; and a frequent public speaker on business and economic issues. Rod is an adjunct professor in the business faculty at Unitec in Auckland. He is the 2009 winner of Landcorp’s Agricultural Communicator of the Year award, and the author of Reinventing Paradise, a book about the New Zealand economy, published by Penguin in 2007.