Dick Smith: Whiz of Oz

By Ruth Laugesen In Business

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We Kiwis are a submissive lot when it comes to food nationalism. We stood silently by when our sublime canned Otago apricots were replaced by pale, insipid imports. We hardly even harrumphed when Heinz Wattie’s started putting Australian tomato sauce in those iconic plastic bottles. But over in proud Australia, even the humble beetroot can stir the heart of a patriot. After Heinz shifted its beetroot growing and canning to New Zealand, businessman Dick Smith, these days a food producer, launched a stinging attack on the multinational company. In his new incarnation as food patriot, Smith has detected flaws in the economic system that made him rich. He calls economic growth a “cancer”. “The only thing in nature that I know that has perpetual exponential growth is cancer. And it normally kills its hosts.” ...

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