More immigration and foreign investment would stimulate
the economy and attract more talented people to New Zealand,
NZX chief executive Tim Bennett said at a forum in Dunedin
Organised by a Wellington-based think tank, its theme was the
late scientist Sir Paul Callaghan's vision of New Zealand as
''a place where talent wants to live''.
Mr Bennett, who spent much of his career in Asia before
returning to run the New Zealand Stock Exchange, said
migrants faced ''incredibly frustrating'' barriers.
This country needed talented workers to lift productivity,
especially during the 10 to 15 years it would take to educate
the long-term unemployed.
Immigration officials needed to take a more rounded view of
migrants, rather than remaining focused solely on the jobs
they would do.
New Zealand needed more foreign capital - and there was no
shortage of investors.
''It's a really good story,'' he said, adding investors were
not solely interested in the dairy industry, but a range of
Associate Prof Paul Hansen, of the University of Otago
economics department, told the forum he did not have all the
answers but felt they were likely to be found in the private
Dunedin needed more jobs. It was a great place to live, but
people needed to make a living.
Often when the university hired a highly skilled academic,
there was no work in the city for their partner.
Prof Hansen said he was the only one of his school friends
still in Dunedin. Nearly all lived overseas, and while they
were fond of Dunedin, they were unable to return because of a
lack of opportunity.
Prof Hansen, who is also a software developer, said the
internet played a crucial role in ensuring Dunedin was
connected to the world.
In his talk, Emeritus Prof Jim Flynn sharply criticised the
university system, saying an ''insane'' market-driven model
meant far too much money was spent on bureaucracy and
The bureaucracy had too much power in universities, he
believed. There was no point in institutions competing for
students; it was a waste of money.
He would like to see tertiary education more accessible to
older students and women. The funding model encouraged
academics to pass as many students as possible, which meant
those not really interested in their studies were retained in
The cultural environment was crucial to attracting people
from overseas. He tried to do his part by writing books -
with topics ranging from climate change to literature - to
educate New Zealanders and make those from overseas feel more
The forum was organised by the McGuinness Institute, as part
of its TalentNZ Tour.