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Capturing The Knowledge Wave? 2 August 2001 Edition
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To quote from a story on NZoom, "One of the biggest international talkfests ever staged in New Zealand got underway on Wednesday, with a strong message from the Prime Minister that New Zealand's downward drift requires decisive action, but not at the expense of poorer people."

How paradoxical therefore that conference attendance is limited to just 450 people -- most of who are hardly "poor" and that only those who are rich enough to afford a Sky digital TV subscription get to watch the proceedings on TV.

Also paradoxical is the fact that, despite purporting to be dealing with NZ's hi-tech future, I can find no indication of the event being webcast so that the huge number of NZers who have an Internet connection can tune in and watch how their future is being debated.

I thought that one of the key objectives of the government's strategy was to recruit ex-pat Kiwis to help in growing our KBE -- wouldn't a live webcast, allowing them to follow the conference proceedings, regardless of where in the world they are, make far more sense than a local SkyTV broadcast then????

Perhaps government and the organisers of this conference ought to realise that succeeding in a KBE is all about recognising and grasping opportunities as they come along -- they missed this one didn't they??

I find this pretty shocking actually -- and quite frankly I'm more than a little surprised. So far, after a somewhat tardy start, the Labour government has shown a pretty good appreciation for new technology -- even offering to share the email addresses of its ministers (well their secretaries actually).

I'm also surprised to find that the front page of the government's main website makes absolutely no mention of the "Catching The Knowledge Wave" conference -- not even a link to the conference website!

Come on -- what's the point in talking the talk if you've stopped walking the walk?

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
  • Knowledge Wave... - Ian
  • Govt's use of technology... - David
  • The conference... - Brian
  • Government and the conference... - Mark
  • goverment... - Bede
  • Have Your Say

    I had hoped that TVNZ might have been webcasting the conference -- but no, although housewives can watch the largely infomercial-based sedative known as the Good Morning program, streamed live to their PCs -- something as significant as this conference is clearly not considered as important.

    That's right, Mary Lambie, complete with her chernobyl-styled hair-do is seemingly more important than a long list of prestigious speakers who are allegedly armed with the vital information we need to recover our position near the top of the OECD nations.

    However, maybe this whole conference is little more than a chance for lots of outspoken people to rub shoulders with one another at someone else's expense?

    Call me a tired old cynic -- but when I look at the list of speakers associated with any conference that pretends to be looking for solutions to problems, I get decidedly uncomfortable when I recognise many of the names as "talkers" rather than "doers."

    I can't help but wonder whether this is just a giant image-building exercise by a government that might have already made up its mind about what it will and won't do to grow a KBE here in NZ. Just read this interesting commentary by Fran O'Sullivan for another perspective.

    If we look back over time, have any of these summits, conferences or brainstorming events ever created real results -- or do they simply produce masses of hot air and rhetoric that quickly cools until, 6 months later, it's almost as if nothing ever happened?

    Come on readers -- shoot me down in flames. Tell me I goofed and that the conference *is* being webcast somewhere. Tell me that we're going benefit immensely from this conference. Tell me that the little people don't matter and they should leave all this planning to the "exspurts."

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