Getting Wellington out of debt—by growing the right businesses

In plain English, when a city is hundreds of millions of dollars in debt—depending on who you believe, the figure is between $200 million and $400 million—how do you get out of the hole?    1. You can sell the family jewels, and there’s water left. We tried this in the 1980s, and now so […]

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What we need from leaders in the new decade: creativity leads the list

My friend and colleague at the Medinge Group, Ava Hakim, passed on a few papers from her day job at IBM. The first is the latest edition of a biennial global CEO survey, while the second asks the next generation of leaders—Generation Y. The aim: to find out what these groups think about the challenges […]

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Autocade grows to 1,100 models: slowly but surely

Some weeks ago, as we neared this milestone, I planned to write a small blog post on reaching 1,100 cars at the Autocade site. And to show that these milestones are not rigged, we wound up with a fairly ghastly motor at that 1,100 mark. Nissan Cherry (E10/KPE10). 1970–4 (prod. unknown). 2- and 4-door sedan, […]

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Norman Macrae, RIP

I learned the sad news that Norman Macrae, CBE, 旭日章, passed away on June 11, just shy of his 87th birthday.    Norman was one of the great visionaries and forecasters of the 20th century, and served as deputy chief editor of The Economist till his retirement in 1988.    Among his forecasts was the […]

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Let the Outrageous Fortune come

Almost any New Zealander will recognize this image: a cast photograph from the long-running TV series Outrageous Fortune.    When I first heard of this show from Antonia Prebble, before she started filming, I have to admit I didn’t think the premise would see it last five years (and counting). But for New Zealand television […]

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Chevrolet doesn’t understand branding

After the chaps at Autocar began following me on Twitter yesterday—after all, I had been reading the magazine since it was part of the Ministry of Magazines, in the post-Iliffe days—I noticed a Tweet about Chevrolet asking its dealers to not refer to the brand as Chevy.    What?    According to Autocar: A leaked […]

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Chatting to TV, radio and internet journalists for the mayoral campaign

There have been a few times in the history of this blog where I stepped away from writing regularly. At the end of 2006, I had a pretty good excuse: I was in France. This time, my reasons for stepping away for a few weeks do not include: (a) I was spending too much time […]

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A guide to writing an Alarm für Cobra 11 episode

  Since my campaign fund-raiser on the 15th, I’ve had to take a back seat from blogging, though there is a lot to discuss about work, our city and other matters. And I would get back in to serious mode but for a nasty stomach bug that has kept me down—and taken away a bit […]

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Metro gives thumbs-up to Stefan Engeseth’s Unplugged Speeches

This is rather heartening to see, from the Metro freebie in Stockholm (the below is copied from the online edition):    What’s in: Stefan Engeseth’s Unplugged Speeches series at the Regina Stockholms Operamathus (where yours truly gave the first edition).    What’s out: the growing mounds of paper (rather appropriate in an eco-conscious nation).   […]

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The rise of the city brand

I don’t have the other writers’ permission to show their side of this Facebook dialogue, but we had been chatting about growing the creative clusters here in Wellington as one of my mayoral policies.    I wrote: Mostly by focusing on growing creative clusters and taking a bigger slice of the cake. So it is […]

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