Making New Zealand a place where talent wants to live.

Since I live in New Zealand and very concerned about the fact that many educated people leave New Zealand I am re-posting this below lecture of Sir Paul Callaghan. You can view it as a video as well.

I think there are ways to make New Zealand a country where educated people actually want to live, but the key is to keep these people challenged in their profession. I am sure that they can be convinced to take a pay cut if they are able to live in such a beautiful country as New Zealand as long as they are offered the possibilities and resources to actually let them do what they do best and have New Zealand ride on the back of this wave. We are but a small country, but what we do best is innovate. We can reinstate our position as a green and clean country by actually focussing our attention to it and make it our main point of difference from other countries. Similar to the point that Rob Fyfe makes on Radio National here. Higher educated people are key to attaining this goal.

Chancellor’s Lecture – Professor Sir Paul Callaghan from Victoria University of Wgtn on Vimeo.

Published 22 September 2011 @ Victoria University Website

Professor Sir Paul Callaghan has written a business plan for New Zealand – and it doesn’t include winning the World Cup.

Professor Callaghan put aside the myths and things that make us “feel good” to outline some hard truths and prescriptions for making New Zealand a place where talent wants to live, at Victoria University’s Inaugural Chancellor’s Lecture in the Wellington Town Hall last Wednesday.

The Victoria University Professor and New Zealander of the Year spoke about creating a more prosperous New Zealand through science and technology, and received a standing ovation from the 1500 people who attended.

“We wallow in a mythology that makes us feel good about ourselves—much of which is fundamentally untrue,” he said, pinpointing our clean and green and relaxed lifestyle myths—and even taking shot at New Zealand’s iconic “nuclear free” status.

“Only a few hundred metres from a sign outside Wellington airport that reads ‘Welcome to Wellington – Capital of Nuclear free New Zealand’ is a facility that creates the radioactive material that was used to discover the cancer tumours in my body. That material is made through nuclear reactions, and shipped to hospitals throughout New Zealand.

“We have in this country a capacity for egregious hypocrisy—we do it better than anyone.”

In the lecture Professor Callaghan urged New Zealanders to be smart and innovative about the industries we support, and rubbished the idea that the key to prosperity was mining our natural resources.

“If you have a business plan like the one I’m talking about you are not interested in digging up our national parks and resources at the expense of all we hold dear.”

He said the only way to reverse the brain drain, create a prosperous society and make New Zealand a place where talent wants to live was by turning New Zealand’s small size into an advantage, and investing in niche, hi-tech, high value industries.

“That requires entrepreneurial genius and understanding of how to meld the technology, skill and engineering to that market opportunity that you have seen—that’s the genius that is needed.”

Callaghan said that New Zealand currently has one of the lowest rates of investment in research and development on the OECD, which was crippling New Zealand’s ability to achieve prosperity. He said such investment would help to stem New Zealand’s “great tragedy”—the brain drain.

“Twenty-four percent of our graduates leave New Zealand and don’t come back—including 50% of medical graduates. They don’t see a future here. Until we get honest and confront our myths, New Zealand will not be a place where talent wants to live.”

The Chancellor’s Lecture is funded by an anonymous donor through the Victoria University Foundation and was part of the Wellington City Council’s Festival of Carnivale celebrations to showcase the city during the Rugby World Cup.

Original article can be found here: LINK


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