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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33 No. 11. 22 July 1970

NZ Industry: whose is it?

NZ Industry: whose is it?

"All overseas capital investment in New Zealand, or takeover bids, whether from within New Zealand or from overseas, should be the subject of the closest scrutiny by the public and the government."

This is the view of Mr W. Rowling M.P., who spoke to about fifty students on campus (on 8 July). Mr Rowling spoke on the subject: "New Zealand Industry Tomorrow—Who Will Own It?"

"Not, all investment from overseas is harmful, however," he said. "It can benefit an industry through economies of scale, better management, access to better research facilities, larger overseas markets, and the granting of licenses to New Zealand producers."

Photo of Bill Rowling

"Competition exists in name but does it exist in practice?"—Bill Rowling, MP.

"Competition exists in name, but does it really exist in practice?" he asked. "As soon as one brewery put up its prices, the other one saw the need to as well."

He used the example of Shell-BP-Todd to show how overseas investment may benefit the economy. "Another example, notwithstanding Manapouri, is Comalco," he said.

"We should be careful to ensure that our economy does not develop into a duopoly," he said. "Already we have the situation where we have two breweries, two cement companies, two companies producing 90% of all processed food, and two major transport companies, especially in the field of containers."

Mr Rowling said that the problem was that too much overseas investment was coming into areas that did not need it, such as the timber industry "This sort of investment adds nothing to production and is therefore harmful to the economy," he said.

"A commonly used argument is that there is not enough capital in New Zealand to take the place of overseas investment. In 1968, $350 million of New Zealand money was invested in Australia," he said. The trouble is the Government has failed to create the right climate for investment."

"There is also a reluctance for New Zealanders to take a part in overseas owned or partly owned companies," Mr Rowling said. "As a developing country this investment is necessary to the well-being of the economy."

Thought for the Week:

"The day of the velvet glove has gone; particularly when someone punches you in the nose."—Mr E.S.F. Holland, National Party MP for Riccarton.

Photo from Arts Festival