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Computerworld has a front page story about iPhone app developer Layton Duncan planning to move his Polar Bear Farm business from Christchurch. That story isn’t online yet, but Toby Manhire had an earlier story on this at The Listener.

No-one can blame Duncan for wanting to up sticks. The last two years of earthquakes would test a saint’s patience.

The authorities running the show in Christchurch seem clueless. We can all sympathise with Duncan’s frustrations.

What concerns me most and what should worry other New Zealanders is Duncan hasn’t chosen to set up shop in Wellington, Auckland or anywhere else in this country. He says he has chosen Melbourne in Australia.

I hope someone in government has asked Duncan why he chose to move overseas.

If it was just one person making a trans-Tasman move, it would be a pity. But it isn’t, we’re looking at an entire generation. That’s not a pity, it is a tragedy.

One thought on “Goodbye Polar Bear Farm

  1. Hi Bill,
    Receiving my monthly dose of NZTE chest thumping lead me into their ‘sucess stories’ case studies, the first one being PBF. Your story followed PBF’s website in Google.. and your words stir me to reply.
    Having invested much time over the years to get politicians to recognize that the 21st century is about what you can do with your brain rather than with your hands, your story has prompted me to think about beating the drum again.
    When, as part of Helen Clark’s SIAC think tank, we tried to promote knowledge industry, Fed Farmers immedately went on the offensive. “Farming is a knowledge industry too.”.
    We would have been better served if we had promoted the ‘weightless industry export scheme’ whereby government incentivizes export business inversely to the weight of product it ships. A 20th century concept, shipping, that everyone could have understood, rather than ‘knowledge industry’, which was not well understood and alienated the ‘dumb’ sectors of the economy.
    NZ desparately needs a circuit breaker if it is to keep up with its mortgage payments later on this century. We have to get the high-tech/weightless sector to the forefront one way or the other. It is the only industry that will deliver a high-wage economy. Not bio-tech or other high-risk research; just plain old-fashioned high-tech innovation like PBF. It will make us wealthy.
    I am based in the USA because the market opportunities are huge and the channels for my product still need face to face contact every now and then.
    The high-tech sector here (and around the world) is like a vacuum cleaner sucking up tallent and creating innovative product, and it is in its infancy…
    NZ could be minting it if only we helped our fledgling entrepreneurs with leadership; not NZTE handouts or advice, which have very little economic impact, but a statement from Government that THIS is our future, and we are aligning our national resources to acheive this.

    Regards, John Blackham (ajb@xsol.com)

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