New Zealand faces an enormous challenge to stop the needle pointing to the floor. Despite our efforts, things are flat and world markets are moving from one moment of uncertainty to another. So all of what Paul Holmes has said is true.

But I contend there is hope. We can improve and we will.

Since the early 2000s there has been some awareness of how bad our economic performance is.

We have worked out that we have significant issues with the regulatory environment, disincentives to save and an environment which encourages excesses in the property market.

Brand New Zealand is strong. We represent one of the world's most powerful authentic brands. We have a beautiful and unspoilt country; a highly educated work force; we are creative and original in our problem solving; we produce some of the best food and beverages; we have an emerging high-technology strength and many Kiwis offshore want to help this country. We are lucky.

Air New Zealand is leading the airline industry worldwide. What about other New Zealand companies that are building global businesses?

Icebreaker and Untouched World leverage our ability to source fine commodity products with added value, great design and innovative go-to-market solutions.

In the movie and TV business, don't go past Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor and the industries they have created. Then there are technology companies such as Fisher and Paykel Healthcare and Orion Health, New Zealand's largest software exporter, which are significant players on the world stage.

We estimate about 750 Kiwi firms are "internationally successful". We need only four times this number, or 3000 firms, to move the needle.

I host many international people in this country. They holiday here because of our beauty. What shocks them is our creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. They know we will learn how to play the global game and win. We just need to believe it and make it happen.

* Andrew Hamilton is CEO of The Icehouse, a business growth centre founded by the University of Auckland Business School to improve Kiwi businesses.