By PHILIPPA STEVENSON
A Texas-based businessman who has criticised the Government's direction in a full-page newspaper advertisement has not finished putting his money where his mouth is.
John Carr, who was born in the United States and raised in New Zealand, raised the ire of Prime Minister Helen Clark yesterday after taking out a full-page advertisement in the Business Herald, imploring the Government to act to boost business confidence.
His action follows last Thursday's "Generation Lost" advertisement in which Aucklander Richard Poole and a number of expatriate New Zealanders said they were seriously concerned at the country's direction.
Mr Carr, the brother of Reserve Bank deputy Governor Rod Carr, claimed yesterday that he had no political ties.
Mr Carr said that when he had learned of the "Generation Lost" advertisement he had contemplated not placing his own, concerned that he "was pouring gas on the fire" but went ahead in the belief that he had something important to say.
He revealed he intended to place another advertisement next Monday offering 12 "positive, constructive, apolitical suggestions as to what could be done to improve things."
The businessman, who has been involved in various ventures in New Zealand, claimed a botched contact with the Dairy Board was the last straw which triggered the ad.
He said he became frustrated after three intelligent, educated New Zealanders in their 30s had approached him for jobs in the US, an export opportunity was "squashed" by the Dairy Board, and the NZ dollar fell below 40 cents against the US dollar.
John Commins, Mr Carr's partner in Auckland internet-based finance service MoneyOnline, said Mr Carr had been treated "appallingly" by the Dairy Board.
However, it appears Mr Carr was never close to creating an export opportunity in the highly restricted American cheese market.
Mr Carr confessed he was unaware New Zealand's cheese exports to the US were restricted to an American-imposed quota of 22,500 tonnes, and that regulators there also prescribed what varieties of cheese in what quantities could be imported by which exporters.
He also conceded he had not been able to keep an appointment with a Dairy Board official.
Mr Carr said his action was not "sour grapes." Though his advertisement appeared to be directed at the Government he did not hold it responsible for the country's woes.
"But I do hold them responsible [for] going forward. Someone needs to be bold and take an affirmative stance here, come out and lead."
Although he now lives in the United States, Mr Carr returns to New Zealand every two months or so.
Companies Office records show he is a director of no fewer than 16 companies - one of them the publicly listed Spectrum Resources, a one-time hard-up mining exploration company now in e-business. He owns 6 per cent.
Spectrum executive director Rob Levison said yesterday that Mr Carr had always spoken his mind.
"Whenever he comes back he gets frustrated by the lack of go forward in the country. And certainly he has seen the impact on his own businesses of Government policy like most businesses have."
Other business ventures include Carr Business Services, which was listed on the Stock Exchange in the early 90s, and internet player Electronic Media.
He was also a director of NZ Petroleum, which has since transformed into a retirement village operator, Eldercare.
His sister-in-law, Jenny Carr, said he talked often with her husband, Rod Carr. The brothers had only each other for close family since their parents died. She described the pair as bright and intelligent business people.
Rod Carr declined to comment.
Herald Online feature: The jobs challenge
Participate in our Herald Online forum
By PHILIPPA STEVENSON