Apologies if that comes across as simplistic nonsense - I am not into accounting or economics and have no real understanding of the intricacies of those subjects, but I am part of the problem as I consume, drive a car, etc.
Great post David. I agree - there is a lack of vision and sophistication evident in the PM's speech and, I think, evident in some (though by no means all) NZ businesses' approach to international trade and investment. As an international trade and investment lawyer, I can see that we are not making the most of the NZ-China and ASEAN FTAs - and others are on their way.
The answer is, as you say, better education and information. This could include documentaries, but better newspapers with useful world news would help. It is almost inevitable that a NZ business will be less sophisticated than a UK business if the latter reads the FT and the former reads the Dom Post.
The answer is also about ambition and interest. To succeed in foreign markets, you have want to be connected to a world larger than your own backyard. Sometimes the debate in NZ reveals too much inward focus (how to slice the existing pie into ever smaller pieces) and complacency (why things are just fine the way they are), and not enough outward interest and drive.
Where I'm going tomorrow:
ICEHOUSE open day: How we'll turn 500 more NZ companies into successful exporters.