Posted by Jed Wieland on Mar 13, 2018

This week Noel Holyoake introduced Maurice Williamson to address the club and we were treated to one man’s story about his keen interest in technology, his belief in New Zealand and a passionate promoter of our country and its enterprise.

Following completion of his studies at university, Maurice was employed by Air New Zealand where he stayed for 17 years before being elected the Member for Pakuranga and entering Parliament where he served for 30 years.   Maurice looked after some 30 portfolios during this time and his qualification to serve as Consul General in the US is well founded.   Maurice says however that his role is more “deal doing” rather than diplomatic as he strives to generate contacts and create opportunities for New Zealand Businesses wanting to establish trade with the US.

Maurice has offices in the very modern Water Gardens complex in Santa Monica and has some influential neighbours close to both his office and his residence in Brentwood (Santa Monica).

California is a state that on its own ranks 6th in world. It is a centre for ideas and innovation and has a population of just under 40 million.   Maurice thrives in helping businesses into this market the and the US generally, he has built up many contacts to whom he can introduce businesses to give them an entry where otherwise one would be much harder to achieve.

He is quick to bring out his presentation highlighting benefits New Zealand has in terms of ease of starting a business, ease of doing business, freedom from corruption, attractiveness for foreign investment, good infrastructure, our human rights record, desirable cities, our general state of happiness etc.

Maurice also spoke about the vast number of Americans keen to visit NZ and wealthy ones who see New Zealand as a “bolt hole,” and a safe place to invest.

We were also told of the challenges America faced with enormous debt, a large bureaucracy limited means to maintain its infrastructure and a huge gap between rich and poor.

And lastly, with a reference to his interest in transport and road safety, Maurice told us about LA’s intense road congestion, resultant air quality, a huge road toll (1.46 million) and the innovation around driverless cars and its potential to increase tarmac use by 400% with the potential to all but eliminate road deaths.