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Phil O’Reilly – dumb enough to fail

Written By: - Date published: 8:51 pm, December 29th, 2009 - 19 comments
Categories: scoundrels - Tags: , ,

Phil O’Reilly  of Business NZ has an opinion piece in the NZ Herald today decrying businesses that trade on the ‘clean and green’ image of New Zealand. He writes as if it is a solely a tourism issue. This is a spin line that David Farrar at Kiwiblog swallows hook, line, and sinker. However the clean and green image is used by exporters and people recruiting for immigrant skills as well. It is pretty clear that neither O’Reilly or Farrar have much to do with exporting otherwise they’d be aware of this. But that isn’t surprising as this is a line for the dumb old extract and pillage companies of the 20th century rather than the ones that live in the 21st century.

Most companies exporting from NZ use the ‘clean and green’ image when marketing their products. It is used outside of the ‘safe food’ exports that give us most of our export income (and which O’Reilly ignores). Virtually every software product I’ve been involved with has used the image as a renewable marketing resource. It is a ‘natural’ resource in much the same way that we use our timezone differences for support work on the nets. Both allow points of difference between us and companies from other countries. Soap manufacturers use it. People selling electronics for boats use it. Every exporter I’ve ever worked for uses it.

After all we are a country trying to export from tens of thousands of kilometres from our main markets. Points of difference like this allow doors to open to businesses that we’d otherwise have difficulty getting into. This century it will help insulate us from the worst of the fallout as societies clean up the rubbish and debris of the worst of last century. Having a clean and green image is a hell of a marketing point in the 21st century.

Similarly, it allows us to recruit some of the better skilled people world wide. They come for the image, stay for the holiday and then settle. They certainly don’t settle for the low wage economy that the neo-libs of the right have been trying to stuff us into for so many years. It is the country, the people, and the hope of a better society that isn’t following the same stupidities that they are leaving. A lot of this is to do with our clean and green image and our boisterous internal dialogs. These immigrants have the skills that we cannot afford to train. Many set up businesses that trade back to their countries of origin.

It is all a intangible benefit, but one that a great many companies trade on. It is a lot more sustainable than pulling short-term profits out of the ground and burning them for little benefit to NZ.

O’Reilly seems to think that being clean and green:-

It also sets us up to fail.
With an absolute statement like “clean and green” any variation becomes a failure.

He then goes on to say

This is unfortunate, given the pervasiveness and rapidity of communications. Try Googling “clean green New Zealand” and you’ll find many recent critical entries pointing out instances where we are failing to meet the standard of “clean and green”.

It can be used by extremists for the purpose of highlighting any environmental failings, however slight. So why should we set ourselves up for this?

What a dork. He has just been lauding that NZ is uncorrupt country. How does he think that it gets that way? When people are looking at countries from offshore over the net (and that is how people tend to view countries these days), one of the critical indicators is how much internal peaceful dissent is present. A healthy democratic society has public dissent and public involvement in decision making. When you look for countries with problems, then you look for the Brownlee’s with their mismanagement of democratic decision making and start to wonder about when the government and business repression starts. Public peaceful dissent indicates a healthy political process. It is highly attractive both to business people and our customers.

Phil O’Reilly has to know all this. After all he goes to international forums and hears people discussing NZ. However not all businesses in NZ export, and therefore don’t have these factors built into their calculations. Many have a short-term extractive mentality of rape and pillage for personal short-term profit. These seem to be the people that Phil O’Reilly is speaking for. The ones that chafe under the effort of making decisions that look towards the long-term interests of NZ, their companies, and their industries rather than their short-term profit lines. They’re dumb enough to fail at long-term decisions.

Just look at the stupidity that is showing in the special favors for industries in nationals emissions trading scheme. Propping up polluting industries and providing them more incentive to pollute is ardent stupidity for NZ. Effectively the taxpayers wind up paying for polluters and either have higher taxes or reduction in services to pay for it. But of course these favors from the national government will be good for some of those that Phill O’Reillys organization represents.

Phil O’Reillys opinion piece will certainly piss off most of the exporters and tourism operators. But it is pretty clear that Business NZ isn’t too concerned about much past short-term profits.

It is better for New Zealand to maintain a renewable resource like a clean and green healthy democratic uncorrupt society for the long-term benefits of society. The clean and green image of NZ has been far more successful at helping raise the productivity of NZ than anything the Business NZ has in their 50 point plan of previously failed extremist policies (PDF). It is pretty clear that Business NZ doesn’t represent many exporters working in a competitive marketplace offshore. Dumping a working system like clean and green might help some industries, but they’d mainly be the dumb old ones working inside the local economy and yearning for a low-wage economy.

Perhaps that is what Phil O’Reilly is really bemoaning. It must be galling to see a working smart policy that requires intelligence to use. It certainly works better than his favoured dumb neo-lib ideas that benefit business models that should be left in the 20th century and will not work for us over the longer term.

19 comments on “Phil O’Reilly – dumb enough to fail”

  1. mouse 1

    Phil is a


    Chap… He has no kid(s)…He has no vision of their future or their inheritance.

    Please try to understand him for what he is and where he is at…

    He’s know’s only how to speak ‘Balderdash’… and I suspect his conscience bothers him not… sad Chap.

    • Quoth the Raven 1.1

      He has no kid(s) He has no vision of their future or their inheritance.

      And what does that matter? I’m seem to recall the same lame criticism of Helen Clark from the right. Conservatives it seems are abound on both sides.

      • mickysavage 1.1.1

        The difference is that Helen did act as if she had kids and cared for their future but O’Reilly and a few others do not even think of the future when they talk. There is a very good Indian saying that we do not inherit the environment from our parents, we borrow it from our grandchildren.

        • Quoth the Raven

          micky – So you have to have children or act as if you do to care about the environment. You can’t just care it about because you care for your fellow man. I believe Helen Clark did what she did, as much as I may disagree with things that she did, because she thought they were right. Face it you’re just shilling for a conservative attitude.

          • mickysavage

            Not at all.

            If you care about the environment you will not want to damage it.

            The most powerful metaphor for doing this is agreeing to pass on to the generation after next an environment that is in the same shape as now.

            Theoretically you do not need to have grandkids. But it very eloquently states what is required.

            I do not have grandkids but just in case I do in the future I want them to have the same sort of world to live in that I live in now.

            • Quoth the Raven

              If you care about the environment you will not want to damage it.

              The most powerful metaphor for doing this is agreeing to pass on to the generation after next an environment that is in the same shape as now.

              Right I agree, but we don’t need to jump from that to whether or not one is a breeder.

              Theoretically you do not need to have grandkids. But it very eloquently states what is required.

              I think it is needless. If you want to talk theoretically, theoretically it’s less a burden on the environment if you don’t breed.

              I do not have grandkids but just in case I do in the future I want them to have the same sort of world to live in that I live in now.

              You ought to want an even better world 🙂

              • lprent

                I don’t have any kids (or grandkids) – which explains why I can run this blog. But I sure care. Being an childless uncle or aunt (or cousin) means that you get hauled in whenever there is a need. You wind up with baby-sitting, tutoring, and helping the teens when they wind up over-indulging.

                Family goes somewhat beyond being a ‘breeder’. I always found that ‘childless’ meme from the right about Helen pretty damn ridiculous bearing in mind that way that she acts with her nephews and nieces. Just another short-sighted view.

  2. Mr O’Reilly has jumped on the Brownlee/Smith band wagon bigtime. The distinction that he makes between ‘extremism’ (environmentalists and their ilk) and ‘holism’ (right-thinking, decent chaps who understand the need of business) is pro-government spin in spades. However, not all businesses toe this line. Mr O’Reilly would have been more sensible to refrain from comments like this.

  3. prism 3

    Really good points lprent says it all.
    I remember that one idea for colonists establishing what legal entity NZ might have was to define certain areas as factory areas, which would no doubt have all the British habits, procedures and laws and laissez faire attitudes that Britain was just coming out of because of determined efforts by activists. Slavery too was I think finally abolished as a practice only in 1838 and NZ was just getting started then.
    The type of thinking that some of those callous business men had still seems to flourish today and we have to be aware of the dangers of their gaining control over all we have built in our society, and have established in our land. It will be dismantled if there is money in it for them. The cold, calculating, greedy man and woman is present in every society, white or black, waiting to exploit it and further, to squeeze it dry.

  4. Bill 4

    Phil ain’t being any more dumb than what is required when following the party line.

    National will lose the next election

    I guess we’ll be hearing more of this kind of thing and in the name of pragmatism any attempt to live up to the image of clean and green will be dumped ( at sea of course….out of sight/mind) allowing NZ Inc to shit itself in style.

  5. prism 5

    BTW on back of recent NZ King Salmon smoked fish purchase, the environment comes top in description. “From the pure, crystal clear water of New Zealand’s Marlborough Sounds comes the naturally delicious Regal Marlborough Salmon.” Our image of fresh and pure and keeping the reality as close to it helps our exports, our perception by the world in general – people buy our stuff, come here to live and work and look around because of it.
    At the bottom of the world we need to have a drawcard, get money in from other things than cow fat, much as I like butter etc.

  6. randal 6

    so why doesnt phil tell us how many profitable businesses were established last year and how many he expects to get going this year.
    lets have some facts instead of this airy fairy kiwi bluff and bluster that ultimately means nothing at all.

  7. chris 7

    can someone tell me what profitable businesses phil oreilly and roger kerr are responsible for?

  8. randal 8

    all the ones they managed to steal off the state.

  9. prism 9

    Roger and Phil are in the service sector, the giving advice sector, like financial, economic, business. The advice on how to run the government vehicle better, given from the back seat of their limo while the chauffeur handles the driving and looks after the dirty bits under the bonnet.
    Or perhaps to show they are flexible – from their 4Wd towering above the roadway, or their repro Spitfire, or their natty sports car with the top down, or their grunty Mercedes (new of course), or their nostalgic old Bentley which Dad used to transport sheep in across the farm.

  10. Jum 10

    Now that they’re growing beef in barns and the supermarkets can’t tell me if their meat is or it isn’t, meat is now off my shopping list once our homegrown beef is eaten.

    No KFC chicken, no McDonalds Angus beef or chicken burgers, no more instant meals. Could be good for the country’s health; not so good for the fast food animal cruelty joints, if enough New Zealanders actually give a damn about where their country is going. Has anybody thought to ask our youth – the people who have to pay for O’Reilly’s greed in the future when international judgment goes against our exports – what they think is the right thing to do.

  11. mouse 11

    Quoth the raven – Gee… never thought of myself as being either Conservative, or Non conservative for that matter…
    I do however identify with the Clean and Green label, though… even if that means some personal sacrifice in changing some of my own behaviors to make the Halo fit… and it may never fit, but as an inspirational goal… I shall keep reaching for it.
    Phil is lobbyist for a section of the Business Community who is advocating re-branding our national inspirational identity so that his cohorts can carry on defiling NZ Inc without being called to account by those who do identify as being Clean and Green.
    Phil’s section of the business community would do better accepting some personal responsibility for positive change… rather than attempting to sweep their failings under the carpet.

  12. response to Phil’s stupid article:


    Dave Feickert: We need to do more to protect clean and green brand

    NZ should be in the vanguard of green industry, says Dave Feickert.
    We have a beautiful country and many in the Northern Hemisphere know this.

    The critical issue for the future of New Zealand’s economic performance is the survival of its clean and green brand….http://www.nzherald.co.nz/environment/news/article.cfm?c_id=39&objectid=10618367&pnum=0

  13. The vast majority of the world`s people who know something about New Zealand will happily acknowledge us as a Clean & Green leader. That perception (and emerging brand) is the single most valuable asset our country has. See also http://www.greenbranz.org

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