Thursday, May 6, 2010

Business Blunders On Our Behalf

NZ's recent trade mission to Saudi Arabia is being labelled a disaster!
A large business delegation went over to expand trade relationships: trade between the two countries was over NZ$2-billion last year... and hopes were high for substantial increases. The financial strength of the Saudis can never be underestimated: hell, they could nearly buy our whole country out of petty cash! Our delegation's imminent arrival was trumpeted in the Arab News last month... now read how it all went wrong...!
night view of the city of JeddahNZ delegates recall missed meetings and meals, late starts and embarrassing late arrivals at scheduled meetings with Arab business hosts, drivers getting lost, and poor organisation by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE). It's been called an overly ambitious, logistical nightmare - one said it was "a cross between The Beverly Hillbillies and speed dating".
PM John Key failed to spearhead the delegation (although in fairness he did rush back to NZ after a helicopter crash killed three RNZAF servicemen on Anzac Day). Then Trade Minister Tim Groser (left in charge) lost his mother while heview of the city of Riyadh - see? They're not desert bunnies! was over there.
General opinion has described the plans as too big with too many events to cover in too short a time. Hindsight's a wonderful thing – but why were these cock-ups not spotted in advance? Whether there'll be another such opportunity in the near future is debatable, as it seems NZTE has made this country look quite inept. Why would Saudi Arabia want to increase trade with such blunderers?

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