God defend New Zealand: is overlooking Kiwi comms talent a sin?

I once heard about a wine industry meltdown when New Zealand wine wasn’t on the menu for an Auckland-based Tourism New Zealand schmooze function. And good on the winemakers for kicking up a stink, I say. Yet who would do the same if the branding, media services, website or PR wasn’t run by Kiwis? Overlooking New Zealand talent for ‘experts from out of town’ is a hate-crime against the country and, in front-facing services such as marketing and communications, it’s just bloody stupid.

The roots of marketing are in sociology and human behaviour. And the fragmentation of media means that now more than ever we need localised and highly customised campaigns. We need people that understand Kiwis.

‘Buy New Zealand Made’ is widely accepted in product markets but the infestation of ‘experts from out of town’ in services seems to go unnoticed. In fact, the only one of late to warrant a mention is The Rugby World Cup opening ceremony, which will be run by filthy Australians.

It’s a Ministry of Economic Development-funded project. Cheers for all the economic development you taxpayer-funded geniuses. Its argument is the Australian-based provider has more specialist skills and experience and that local providers don’t have a fancy enough major events CV. Wouldn’t a more sensible solution be to ‘economically develop’ them through a local project to export globally? Have we not learned anything from Peter Jackson and Weta?

Personally, I couldn’t care a jot if the opening ceremony is a bit crap. I’d rather read a case study about a successful Kiwi business that made good out of the Cup. I want New Zealand companies to make their iPhone apps in New Zealand using local shops; I want our strategists, our creatives, our designers to be developed through local projects to export their ideas to the world, not the other way around.

Should New Zealand businesses be positively discriminating to local talent? Hell yes. Should it be considered a social outcome for government projects and be included in tenders? Hell yes. Should we get more stroppy like the wine industry people. We’re stupid not to.

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