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The task of creating-0012VIEWPOINT

Jon Mayson – Chairman / New Zealand Trade and Enterprise

From traditional trade promotion organization to an award-winning economic agency – the NZTE is evolving its service model as it seeks new ideas to grow NZ’s per capita GDP.

Very early on New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) realised that Kiwi companies need to be highly engaged in the international markets if New Zealand was to lift its per capita GDP.

We needed more New Zealand companies competing successfully on the world stage.

We also needed more businesses exporting and for those already exporting to raise the quantum of their exports. 

That is still very much the case.

NZTE’s raison d’etre is to de-risk the experience New Zealand companies have in doing business internationally, and to build the pipeline of companies that are willing and able to successfully export and grow their international business.

NZTE needs to work with the right businesses, at the right time in their life cycle and in the best ways possible.


This focus has moulded our evolution – from offering traditional trade promotion assistance – to becoming an international award-winning agency that enters into partnerships with firms to provide services throughout their life.  The biggest  challenge we see is not a lack of international opportunities.  Rather, we see the need for New Zealand businesses to grow their critical mass and raise the depth of their experience to compete successfully in international markets.

The last year has been a particularly difficult international trading environment for these businesses. 

NZTE has been keeping close tabs on what is happening in our major trading markets, and has been using our international network to gather intelligence that we can share with businesses, with Ministers and with the policy agencies shaping the Government’s response to the crisis.

The outlook has been quite mixed with some markets, industry sectors and individual companies doing better than others.

The strongest New Zealand companies are looking carefully at their customers, and the strength of their positions. They are addressing which of their business lines are profitable, and which are most consistent with the core value proposition of the company.  They are also using the recession as a pause in growth, to focus on profitability, strategy, and their future direction.


NZTE has a pivotal role to play in helping businesses to survive the current environment and ensuring they are positioned to take advantage when growth returns. 

That means helping businesses build resilience, retain their presence and relationships in international markets and be in the best position to grow out of the recession. 

We have carried out research into the strategies that multi-national companies have used to successfully survive global recessions. There are some important lessons in here for New Zealand businesses – we will be looking at our own support for businesses with these strategies in mind.

We contributed to the small business package announced by Government in February; we have funded Biz New Zealand; and have been involved in the development of new products being offered by the Export Credit Office.

We have joined with Export New Zealand to run a series of CEO forums in the regions.  These were designed to allow businesses to share their experience, challenges and solutions.


We will generally be focusing on products and services that encourage productivity – Lean Business and Better by Design are good examples of this.

At the same time, NZTE’s overseas network is doing everything it can to help New Zealand companies in market.  Our Beachheads programme remains active, and we are continuing to add services in Asia as part of our North Asia strategy.

NZTE has also revamped its website. intended to provide a first stop for any business contemplating exporting, as well as for experienced companies looking for new opportunities or new thinking that may help them take the next step in their business journey.

In the future we want to be much more flexible with our products and services and to offer businesses solutions tailored to the level of their international business engagement.  In the short term we want NZTE clients to grow faster and perform better than other similar firms.

In the long term we expect to see NZTE clients well represented in export growth statistics.  Last year we achieved our vision to be seen as one of the world’s leading economic development agencies, with recognition at the World Trade Promotion Awards in Hague as the ‘Best of the Best’ economic development agencies.

Our challenge is to continue our advances as an organisation and for our clients, in a changing global economy.

We are on track to achieve this in partnership with New Zealand businesses.

Editor’s note: The views expressed above may not necessarily reflect the view of this magazine but we are happy to provide the space for gutsy opinion.

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