Don Brash's 2025 Taskforce made a range of recommendations about how our economy could catch up with Australia.
Its ideas, which included slashing Government spending met with widespread condemnation.
Fashion designer and publisher Annah Stretton is one of a range of New Zealanders approached by nzherald.co.nz to share their thoughts on how we can shorten the gap.
Annah Stretton, clothing designer, entrepreneur and publisher of Her magazine:
In the words of Diane Foreman at the New Zealand Global Women's forum last year: "The formula for a great global business is simple. Take the basics, do them well and add NZ to it."
Foreman's New Zealand Natural story is evidence that this formula works. With about 600 outlets around the world, it's a truly successful global business. Her latest business award win - The 2009 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year - is further proof of the absolute success of her business model.
New Zealand continues to lose its place in the OECD rankings because, quite simply, we are failing to demonstrate any ability to compete in today's global market place.
It's not that we haven't the potential to hold our own on the global business stage. I recently judged a women's business awards in Wellington and the entries were significant in both size and calibre.
Furthermore, the entries contained a good number of businesses that were already global or had developed models that could easily be taken to a global market.
It should be no surprise that these were also the businesses that took out the awards on the night.
So the billion dollar question is how do we get the great majority of SME businesspeople into a global mindset and encourage them to move past the New Zealand three B's benchmark of success - the bach, boat and the BMW - and look at ways that they can truly create a global business?
A significant increase in the number of SME businesses going global would surely be one way of increasing GDP and closing the income gap between Australia and NZ.
It was my foray into the international market that had me review and re-invent so many aspects of my fashion business. The subsequent changes resulted in substantial domestic growth and a raft of savings at every level of my manufacturing process.
If I can move the ambulance to the top of the cliff for a moment, I would like to suggest we review the business focus of our tertiary institutions. I have begun extensive discussions with a number of tertiary institutions around the concept of intelligent incubation.
This is where we take the graduating students from both the creative and business schools and incubate them for a period of time following graduation.
In this scheme graduates would work under the mentorship of active and successful business leaders, rather than tutors, who have traditionally run previous incubation models.
This will see our future business owners having a globally aware mindset.
While this is not a new concept, I do believe serious changes need to occur to set a "new normal" in our business psyche. At some stage we need to break the cycle of average businesses dominating the market place.
Focusing on up-skilling SMEs in New Zealand is the way forward for our economy. In this time of economic turmoil most SMEs continue to struggle even to sustain their current levels of profitability. Therefore, the concept of a global business will never factor in their strategic plan.
The process of setting an expectation that every company is capable of operating on a global stage would immediately strengthen the fabric of domestic businesses and allow New Zealand to truly test its business resolve on the world.