More Big Thinking from the Prime Minister
When I came to office I promised big things. I’m not ashamed to say I’m ambitious for this country and its people. That’s why when National came to power in 2008 we told officials they had to go back to the drawing board, sharpen their pencils, think outside the box, and come up with new ideas to lift our performance and add value.
For too long our economic performance has been poor. We have had our opportunities to lift our game, but successive governments have failed to grasp the mettle, and have rested on their laurels, preferring instead to toe the line. Of course, hindsight is 20/20. But now the shoe’s on the other foot and we need a game-changer. A paradigm shift that will bring growth to our economy and boost productivity.
This blue sky thinking is finally bearing fruit, and I am pleased to announce today a package of proposals that will help New Zealand get back its competitive advantage.
We will all need to give 110% on this, because Rome wasn’t built in a day. But first we must lay the foundations. We need to be running a tighter ship. And that means peeling back the onion to get back to basics.
But enough beating about the bush. In a nutshell, everything comes back to the language we use.
That is why, going forward, we will be requiring all Government departments to apply our new business language policy. Their parroting of empty and worn-out phrases in official reports and documents will ensure they are adding to the value chain and leveraging their synergies, while singing from the same hymn-sheet.
But it isn’t enough to regurgitate tired clichés and meaningless business terms, although that’s certainly a good start. We need to do more to reform the nuts and bolts of our language, to make it a high-performance cutting-edge tool. That is why we are announcing a wholesale reform of the inefficient alphabet sector.
Too many vowels and consonants have been living the dream, while other hard-working letters pick up the slack. We say enough is enough. It’s time some of these letters got a kick in the pants. That’s why from 1 April this year the rules will change so that under-performing and under-used letters, such as “x” and “j”, will be assessed regularly to see if they genuinely need or deserve to belong in our alphabet.
We will also be raising the bar for other under-performing letters, by implementing a package of efficiency reforms aimed at trimming waste and removing duplication. Officials have already identified the low hanging fruit – areas where gains can be made quickly. As an example, they have discovered that in almost every case the letter “c” can be replaced by either ”k” or “s”.
This culture of waste in our language is everywhere. In many cases we have multiple consonants being used to do a job that one could easily do. We don’t need two “t”s in the word “butter” And the sheer wastage in quantities of “s” in the word “assess” is a disgrace.
But these reforms are not just about window-dressing. Radical change is needed. A review of best-practice shows that the use of vowels is both unnecessary and unsustainable. We can look to countries such as Poland to guide us in removing all vowels from our alphabet.
And we must redouble our efforts in the war on “P”. That is why this Government is announcing that from 1 April this year, possession of this consonant will be a criminal offence.
The bottom line is we’re not afraid to push the envelope in order to leverage resources. If we want to hit the ground running we need to bring out our “A” game and bring value to the table. My government will take ownership of this problem, and will lead the charge in hunting out inefficiency and waste in the alphabet.
This is mission critical, so we need to step up to the plate and put a stake in the ground. This is where the rubber hits the road.
At the end of the day, we all know that the elephant in the room is an 800 pound gorilla. But if we ignore our core competencies we risk throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I’m not prepared to drop the ball on this one.
Language reform will bring a much needed step change, and will bring jobs, growth, and ponies for everyone.
It’s a win-win.