Grandstanding v’s HumilityThursday, Jun 21, 2001
To be asked in a small Central Otago handspun wool shop today if the dairy merger was a good thing brought
home how pervasive the public relations information on this industry-restructuring episode
has been and the sort of expectations that have been built into the result by the rest of the community.
In this instance the questioner was a farmer’s wife – a retailer, relying on tourism, finewool
products and wine. All substantial contributors in a growing economy in this region that seems
as remote from dairy as one could be.
They will be very frustrating times if when reality replaces the dairy industries optimistic hopes and
the over hyped expectations are not realized either by dairy producers or the rest of the community.
All those wage and salary earners and small businesses that have gained an impression that by the success
of dairying somehow it will ensure their success in their areas of work will have cause to be
very unhappy about something they feel they sanctioned through parliament.
A grave and perhaps unwanted “success for the country rests with us” expectation seems to
have now been taken on by the dairy industry. Fortunately there have been some saner voices shouting
“whoa” in today’s news.
They have warned that the newly merged company is starting out from the same position as the old. But
even more significantly, as much as GlobalCo plans to grow by 300 percent in ten years, the industries
competitors will be striving to do the same. This is not the time for grandstanding in either
the local or international communities. In schoolyard parlance it may only invite the attention
of the bullies.
A further early warning for NZ farmers is the report that an OECD leading indicator is pointing to global
economic downturn over the next twelve months that has the potential to negatively affect commodity
sales of NZ products.
The OECD composite leading indicator shows Japan, the United States and Germany are all headed for a
decline in growth. A general feeling up until recently that the western European economies would
be able to withstand the downturn in the US and Japan but that now looks like it's not going to happen.
As much as the past two years of profitable farming may have arisen from the fortuitous coincidence
of a number if international events the next two years could be completely the reverse.
In commerce is very easy to make a decision to act but that is very removed from successfully acting
on a decision