Business Breakfast Reminder
Please advise soonest if you wish to attend on 18 June. The guest speaker in the Hon Grant Robertson, Minister Of Finance. This will be a post budget address and looks like being a sellout.
His Excellency Bernard Baker
On 28 May His Excellency Bernard Baker, High Commissioner for Singapore, accompanied by his wife Susan addressed the club on the subject of life in Singapore. HE comes from a family of ambassadors and has served in India, South Africa and New Zealand.
Bernard has appreciated the plain speaking of New Zealanders. He prefers to speak plainly himself stressing the need for honesty in relationships between countries. He has 15 months left of his term in New Zealand. His family has been very happy here.
Singapore is almost unique amongst the countries of the world. Seemingly unimportant, without natural resources it is a secular nation in a Muslim sea. Yet Singapore is one of the most impressive success stories of the 20th and 21st centuries. The country recognised early on that it would have to rely on its human resources. Many foreign academics were imported to strengthen the education system. The economy start by relying on light industry. This gradually changed to a service economy. Further changes are underway to transform into a digital economy. Overall Singapore has done well, achieving a high GDP per capita and annual economic growth of 2.5-3.0%.
Because of its geographical position foreign relations are carefully managed. It cultivates contacts in the Commonwealth and with other small island states. HE spoke of the value placed on Singapore's relationship with the New Zealand military. New Zealand's role in the defense of Singapore in WW II is still remembered.
Singapore remains a confident outward looking nation while recognising that significant challenges must be met in the near future.