Thursday 16 March, 2000

Dear Jim,

In case you aren't aware exactly who I am, my name is Bruce Simpson and I'm both an entrepreneur in this new "knowledge based economy" and a commentator on the local industry scene.

My website at is one of the most widely read and influential online industry-news and commentary sites -- and for almost two years now I have been lamenting the lack of positive action on the part of the government (initially the last National-led government and now the Labour/Alliance coalition).

I remain deeply disturbed that successive governments appear to be doing nothing but talking about creating the economic environment that we need to foster growth in the hi-tech, knowledge-based area.

As someone who has been in this game for over a decade and who now runs the world's most widely syndicated web-based news service (with a larger audience than the websites of the BBC, FoxNews, the Wall Street Journal, Wired and a raft of other "big name US publishers), I believe I have learned a lot about what this country needs to succeed.

I'm also appalled at the manner in which government appears totally unaware of the absolute importance of acting quickly in reshaping our economy.

Even after a 10 percent drop in value this week, the value of companies listed on the US Nasdaq index has risen by 100 percent in just over 12 months -- please compare this to the performance of the NZSE40 to see just how much NZ is missing out on by not being a part of the global KBE.

NZ is starting to look like a 3rd-world country when compared to its trading partners. Even India has implemented far more pro-active and effective measures to foster a KBE by boosting educational resources to provide the lifeblood of such an economy -- trained graduates.

Almost every day we have another country announcing AND IMPLEMENTING measures to improve their performance in the new hi-tech marketplace. Now we have not just Ireland, Finland and Israel, but Scotland and Malaysia racing ahead with new programmes to ensure that they can avoid the dangerous backslide that NZ appears to be already experiencing.

I have many ideas I would be willing to contribute towards the formulation of an effective strategy for boosting the growth of NZ's hi- tech economy -- but, being engaged in helping create that economy already by way of my own various online ventures, I don't have a lot of time.

If you would like to meet or discuss my own observations (as a successful entrepreneur who has weathered the trials and frustrations of launching several start-up businesses in an environment devoid of all government and local investor support) then please let me know and I can schedule some time.

In the meantime you may wish to read an editorial I wrote at the start of the month which has produced a raft of response from my readers who unanimously echo my opinions. As with most of my editorials, it's blunt, pulls no punches and does not set out to be diplomatic or conciliatory.

You come in for a roasting I'm afraid -- but you will find a list of the basic and simple measures I believe would be the most effective at kicks-starting NZ's knowledge based economy -- at minimal cost to the taxpayer.

You'll find the editorial at:

I look forward to your personal response to this email as I am sure you consider this whole issue important enough to warrant more than a simple acknowledgement from your secretary.

Bruce Simpson

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