One of New Zealand's most critical elections is just over a week away. How you vote will make a world of difference to this country's future and fortunes.
Forget the rhetoric, the sound-bite circuses and the outlandish claims masquerading as policy. Focus on the real state of this nation and the unique set of problems that must be carefully managed.
As New Zealanders we may need to put aside historical reasons for voting and give the best available team the mandate to get a complex job done. Who you don't vote for becomes incredibly important.
According to recent polls 3.5 per cent to 4.5 per cent of voters (margin of error aside) think a vote for Winston Peters would benefit New Zealand. If this truly is the case rather than a polling blip I implore these people to think again.
His credibility is bankrupt and he doesn't rate the empowerment that voting for him would allow. How can we trust someone who also continues to want to rewrite history solely for his own gain?
So who is equipped to lead the country? The answer is to first look at the challenges and issues we all face.
New Zealand is in economic trouble. It needs leadership and policies which will result in a more robust economy and a stronger country. There needs to be some belt-tightening to return our balance sheet to a healthier and more viable state.
National - either in coalition with Act or governing alone - provides the strongest option.
On balance they have the experience and business acumen and a clear enough lead so that posturing and "pork bellying" from the sidelines will be at a minimum.
The partial sale of selective state-owned assets, on a case by case basis, is sensible. National has indicated that it will put the proceeds into a fund to develop the country's infrastructure rather than use it to directly pay down debt per se.
The naysayers who talk about the country losing out on a continued stream of returns are missing the point. We'll still have "skin" in the game.
Moreover we'll have the ability to invest the realisation of these assets into areas that will help to broaden and diversify our economy in ways that I've outlined in this series of articles.
Simply ruling this out on ideological grounds, as is Labour's position, is hardly the openmindedness needed in a crisis situation.
Given that we have an unprecedented set of circumstances to contend with, our leaders should consider some of the strategies countries like ours have adopted when they faced equally stormy conditions.
In seemingly dire straits Finland and South Korea invested heavily in improving the quality of education and inducing high investment in research and development.
They also got their constituency on board across the board so that bickering was replaced by "buy in" in the form of clear and consistent policy direction.
Finland in the early 1990s, South Korea after the Asian crisis and Ireland in the late 1980s, showed that consensus among policymakers, businesses and labour alike works if the end goal clearly benefits the country rather than scores a few political points.
As our Ministry of Economic Development's Management Matters in New Zealand study of 16 nations suggests, if we lifted our performance management rating from the bottom quartile to the top quartile, the effect would be the same as adding 41 per cent more staff or 71 per cent more capital.
We could dramatically ease the effects of capital constraints and poor labour productivity just by improving performance management so long as enterprise has assurances the ground rules wouldn't change every three years.
That's just one area of opportunity but a coalition of committed New Zealanders - with the right policies and the right incentives - would undoubtedly uncover more.
For all our sakes don't vote in a way that would constrain this great country from reaching its full potential.
*Owen Glenn is a businessman, philanthropist and an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.