Globalisation is not dead but it's changing and is being driven by technology, which could see regions like Hawke's Bay benefit, says former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.
That was the focus of Clark's talk on the future of globalisation, at Craggy Range's 9th annual speaker series on Friday, alongside tech entrepreneurs Guy Horrocks and Jonty Kelt.
Clark said there were many lessons to be learned from Covid-19 which had contributed to an accelerated decline of the globalisation movement.
One of the most difficult lessons had related to the impacts of global travel and the rapid spread of the virus which led New Zealand to implement border control measures.
"If [international travel to New Zealand] hadn't stopped, we would have had an even worse experience.
"You have to deal with the border, you have to have public buy-in with the measures, and with the vaccine stage you have to convince a critical mass of people."
Kelt felt technology had helped ease the impacts of this, which offered a possible glimpse into the future where big business could be conducted from regions like Hawke's Bay.
"I think the world has surprised itself with how much business can be done without getting on places to other sides of the world.
"I think technology has eased some of the pain [of Covid-19]."
The Hawke's Bay old boy felt technology had allowed people to "carry on with their lives" in some ways.
Horrocks agreed, adding he was surprised by how quickly companies had adapted to working remotely.
"It was really hard to sell [businesses and ideas] to a Fortune 500 company from New Zealand without getting on a plane.
"If you can work remote, why not work somewhere beautiful like here."
The trio were all of the view that regions would likely see a population increase in future as people looked to get away from the cities.
"With the pandemic, I think a lot of people did look at getting out of the big cities," Clark said.
"There are big issues for our cities but I think our regions are extremely attractive.
"People like [Kelt and Horrocks] who can be living anywhere in the world as long as they've got fibre connectivity."
She said Hawke's Bay was of an economic mix which made it "more resilient" to the impacts of Covid-19 - including the region's proximity to centres like Wellington, popularity with domestic tourists and its primary sector.
Kelt said one of the big takeaways from the last year related to the "food supply" and the concept of "scarcity".
"Hawke's Bay's role in [the food supply system] is very strong.
"It's the fruit basket of the country, let alone the world, and then there's the wine industry, and the sheep and beef sector.
"Hawke's Bay is benefiting from all of that."
There are many opportunities to develop that, particularly with technology, he said.
This included value-added products, optimisation and responding to climate change.
"Hawke's Bay can feel really good with where it sits in the country and with the world."
Kelt said there were two types of globalisation, one driven by government policy and another related to technology.
He said it was likely the region would see more tech companies set up base here - he was excited to learn about some, like Clad Online, popping up in Waipukurau.
Horrocks said it wasn't just technology businesses which could benefit though, adding there was still scope for the region's products to enter overseas markets.
"Having walked around such an amazing venue, even on a lighter level, I think branding and direct to consumer is an interesting thing.
"I think there's a lot of opportunity, not just in the tech market.
"There's some interesting things you can do with a lot of the products grown here."