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Depending on your point of view, the ‘Top 10 Issues for New Zealand’ could make for depressing reading.

The New Zealand Institute’s list form the basis that, if resolved, would make the greatest contribution to the country’s long term success.

There’s no doubt about the importance of what they’re talking about.

The question, is how? Unfortunately, the way the media works (or doesn’t work), is that it doesn’t like unanswered questions.

Hopefully I’m wrong, but this report may not achieve much traction in the wider world.

Yes, these issues are put up for debate – but, who is going to join the discussion?

As the report about/around the issues says, the challenge is to increase debate about long term outcomes for New Zealand and what New Zealanders value, establishing the conditions for introducing world-class policies.

That’s a heck of a challenge; not the least for the very conditions that have put New Zealand in the position we find ourselves in now.

How do we overcome our anti-intellectualism might be the first issue – that is, ‘who the heck are these guys to be talking like this?’

Or, ‘I’m alright mate, stuff the rest of you.’

But, let’s try anyway, without hope there is no life.

A more full discussion of the issues is available here.

The issues the NZ Institute have raised, are:

• Can NZ implement stable policies that will improve long term outcomes?
• Can NZ develop and retain a capable, resilient population that works together?
• Can NZ reduce the disadvantages suffered by young people in a way that contributes to NZ becoming a successful multicultural society?
• Can NZ benefit economically, socially and educationally from ultra-fast broadband?
• Can NZ gain competitive advantage and contribute to slowing climate change by shifting to a low carbon economy?
• Can NZ manage the natural environment so it remains productive, is an amenity for future generations, and builds our brands?
• Can NZ develop the depth of business and public sector skill required to deliver success for our exporters and local businesses?
• Can NZ secure the capital required to rejoin the world-leaders in economic prosperity?
• Can NZ develop a high performing innovation ecosystem that grows many more high value international businesses?
• Can NZ accelerate the growth of export sectors?

“If the country can be mobilised to resolve the ‘Top 10′ issues then the future for New Zealanders as whole will be more assured,” says the NZ Institute director, Rick Boven. “Efforts on many other important issues facing New Zealand will not stop, and nor should they. But to build the foundation for long term success we should focus on the vital few.”

He’s absolutely right. Can we, the royal we, overcome our apathy to discuss them?