April 20, 2021
Maori long term focus building smarter firms
The Productivity Commission wants more done to help New Zealand’s most productive companies – especially the top-performing Māori firms.
Commissioner Ganesh Nana says Māori frontier firms have many of the characteristics needed to innovate, grow and support improved wellbeing, and they have higher rates of innovation and R&D than many of their mainstream peers.
He says innovation requires patient investors who are prepared to stay the course.
Māori firms may be more willing to take a long-term view and consider the needs of their descendants than being driven by a short-term focus on financial performance and shareholder returns.
Dr Nana says New Zealand firms focus too much on working harder rather than working smarter.
"We've got to get away from this idea of working harder and getting more and more out of our people by expecting them to
work longer and longer hours for lower pay. That hasn't served us well in the past and is not going to serve us well in the future. It's got to be about innovation, creative ways of doing things and we've got the examples of those already, the Māori companies like Robotics Plus, Animation Research, Emergency Q, those into the high tech stuff and very creative and innovative," he says.
Māori resource-based companies like Wakatu Incorporation’s food and beverage arm Kono, blueberry partnership Miro and milk processor Miraka are also showing the way.
Recommendations in the report on ways the Government can better support Māori frontier firms include:
- providing greater flexibility for Māori land-based businesses to use their assets to engage in a productive enterprise;
- raising the potential of Government procurement processes to stimulate Māori business growth;
- exploring how the Māori-Crown relationship can be enhanced to unlock the potential of Māori firms;
- accelerating work to protect mātauranga Māori and intellectual property; and
- providing support and resourcing for a Māori-led approach, through a Hui Taumata, to improving the Māori business ecosystem.
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