The world of business in 2013

Last updated 05:00 23/12/2012
Mai Chen
PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ
Mai Chen
Simon Moutter
FAIRFAX NZ
Telecom chief executive Simon Moutter
Michelle Boag
Michelle Boag
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Prominent New Zealanders provide their predictions, both light-hearted and serious, for 2013.

MAI CHEN

Founding partner of Chen Palmer New Zealand Public Law Specialists, Barristers and Solicitors.

What are your predictions for New Zealand in 2013?

Sixty per cent of New Zealand's population growth will be in Auckland by 2031, and Auckland's demography will become more non-European in 2013. Minorities (about 20 per cent Asian, 15 per cent Pasifika) and Maori (14 per cent) are increasingly becoming the majority and this will test traditional assumptions of where the wealth and power in this country lies. These minorities will also provide a large proportion of the young who will be supporting the increasingly ageing European population moving towards retirement.

This has implications for New Zealand's taxpayer spending priorities and will test our race relations and human rights record, especially in education. The debate over Maori water rights and interests will come to a head in 2013 and may have constitutional implications if the government is required to respond to what the courts decide through passing legislation.

There will be other controversial contemporary claims made by Maori in 2013 that will test the Treaty of Waitangi partnership.

Pasifika who have been the traditional under-complainers will find their voice, and demand more attention and resources to improve their economic prospects and protection of their languages. They will argue indirect discrimination, which is a breach of section 19 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.

2013 will be the last full year of government before election year in 2014, so it will be busy. A lot of legislation will need to be passed to deal with the legislative backlog in Parliament. A new Speaker of the House will impact on how Parliament operates in terms of exacting accountability from the executive. Expect national politics to intensify, with National having to work harder to retain its lead in the polls.

2013 is also election year for local government. With such a large work programme on many councils' agendas and especially Auckland - with the amalgamation of old bylaws and the release of the unitary plan - there will be a lot of lobbying!

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How many people does New Zealand need?

More. How much more is a political question as well as one of economic viability and sustainability. The sort of immigrants New Zealand wants won't be attracted if we don't put out the welcome mat and provide an economy with opportunities.

What's the biggest challenge New Zealand faces?

Staying globally competitive and dealing well with Auckland's growth - which is faster than the rest of New Zealand - and its unique demographic changes. And of course, the Christchurch recovery.

Where do you plan to spend the holidays?

With my family and my dog; next to my pool in sunny Auckland and in Nelson.

NAT TORKINGTON

Makes things happen online, in open source software, at Kiwi Foo Camp and for O'Reilly Radar.

What are your predictions for New Zealand in 2013?

Specials on the birth of the royal baby to swell our finest news organs. Baby to have at least eight middle names, none of which will be Tangiwai. Nation divided into those who believe a modern nation has no business idolising the inbred parasitic professional handwaving ruling class of its former colonial oppressors, and those who bought tea-towels with Pippa Middleton's bum.

Tourism New Zealand to follow up the attention-getting "100 per cent Pure" campaign with a series of strategic marketing alliances with global brands as diverse as dog food ("100 per cent Purina") and ageing Britgoth ("100 per cent The Cure"). Truth in Advertising laws permit environmentalists to broker an agreement where, for three months, our waterways are branded "100 per cent Manure". Declining interest in such sponsorship sees a change after "100 per cent Panmure".

Weather to continue to happen, the government remaining ineffectual in preventing it. John Key to have a timely photo op with Bear Grylls, eating a polar bear.

Fonterra to announce Collateralised Dairy Obligations, a complex swap of tranched leveraged Milk Production Unit futures via a real-time auction platform based in the Cayman Islands. Nobody understands it, everyone wants to buy shares in it, and we only had to guarantee a dozen Kim Dotcom-esque police raids of teenage television downloaders to be able to offer it on Wall Street.

As the last domestic journalism job is offshored, another New Zealand software company will sell overseas for tens of millions. Universities to turn out a record crop of barely employable arts and literature majors, IT languishing as single-digit percentage of all grads. Gerry Brownlee to investigate mining natural resources of irony.

How many people does New Zealand need?

The number is much less important than their attitude: A small country of confident, inquisitive, and happy people will be more successful and more fun to live in than a larger country of dour dullards (such as England).

What's the biggest challenge New Zealand faces?

Supporting parents and schools so that they will produce confident, inquisitive, and happy adults.

Where do you plan to spend the holidays?

We're taking the family to Pataua to play music, swim, and get the hell off the laptop and the XBox and the mobile phone and the tablet and . . .

SEAN HUGHES

CEO Financial Markets Authority.

What are your predictions for New Zealand in 2013?

I am not sure we will ever know what "normality" looks like again in financial markets. I fear that ongoing uncertainty about the health and robustness of the global financial system will continue to impact on investor confidence, but in New Zealand we should focus more on wariness rather than abstinence.

I think we also need to have a real conversation about how to lift levels of financial competence and understanding across all sectors of our community and within differing levels of risk appetite. I don't think that is the responsibility of any one public body nor is it solely for Government to fund and provide.

I hope that KiwiSaver might be the vehicle through which we begin to feel as comfortable having barbecue conversations about as we do about the All Blacks. And Christchurch's redevelopment should be front and centre in any conversation about our success in 2013. What can we all learn from this event? Is the vision for the future we see in Christchurch applicable to urban planning across the country, and how will we manage the flow of capital into that community?

How many people does New Zealand need?

It's not the raw number, but rather the right mix of diversity of talent, skill and perspective - especially one that shows compassion and tolerance for each other, irrespective of our differences.

What's the biggest challenge New Zealand faces?

In our financial markets, investor confidence; more broadly, "blame" when things go wrong.

Where do you plan to spend the holidays?

I'll be with my family on a beach in Auckland. Hopefully, without too many work calls!

TIM BENNETT

Chief executive NZX.

What are your predictions for New Zealand in 2013?

We've got a huge window of opportunity in New Zealand in 2013 in terms of creating a step-change in our capital markets.

We've seen an important change this year on the markets front, through the launch of the Fonterra Shareholders market, and other listings such as Moa, which has reinforced the fact that New Zealanders do want to invest in equities.

People are saving more, both through KiwiSaver and within their own households, and this is set to continue in 2013.

It's crucial that there are investments in our home market for those savings to go into. Otherwise, that money will flow overseas through investments in Australia or elsewhere, or sit in the bank, none of which does anything to develop our markets. This will in turn provide the capital New Zealand businesses need to grow, without them resorting to sale overseas.

With the demand for equity investment, the Government will have the ideal environment to move ahead with the share offers of Mighty River Power, Meridian and Genesis, so that we have new, large, blue-chip, listings for New Zealanders to take part in.

How many people does New Zealand need?

Perhaps we should try to double our population in the next decade.

What's the biggest challenge New Zealand faces?

We need to encourage and celebrate success off the sporting field.

Where do you plan to spend the holidays?

With family. We've been in three different continents for most of the year, so we're looking forward to a mini reunion.

BILL ROSENBERG

Economist and director of policy at the Combined Trades Union (CTU).

What are your predictions for New Zealand in 2013?

High unemployment continues with only minor signs of improvement. The exodus to Australia continues despite its slowing economy as China reduces demand for raw materials. People increasingly see unemployment and a widening rich-poor gap as signs of a Government being out of touch.

Though the global recession lingers, the excuse wears thin because people want a better response to it. Europe continues in recession and growing social crisis in reaction to austerity measures. The United States does not fall off the "fiscal cliff" but Obama is hamstrung from getting the economy moving again.

The TPPA deadline is extended again as domestic US opposition to imports deepens and popular opposition makes other countries dig in their heels at US demands.

The two signs of life in the New Zealand economy are a continuing increase in activity in Christchurch, and a housing construction and house price boom in Auckland. The Reserve Bank gets increasingly nervous, and after considering use of housing-specific monetary policies, threatens higher interest rates.

Exporters get grumpy at the rising exchange rate. Christchurch gets even more upset at central government actions. A successful anti-asset sales referendum and continuing iwi litigation makes the delayed semi-privatisation of SOEs less and less palatable.

How many people does New Zealand need?

Personal opinion - five million in 10 years, 15 million in 100 years, but we have to get our education and training systems and our employment laws right first, to prevent it being used to beat down wages, and stop the bleeding to Australia.

What's the biggest challenge New Zealand faces?

Sustainable development delivering high-value exporters, decent jobs, high wages, reduced inequality and an enviable environment.

Where do you plan to spend the holidays?

Nelson and Wellington - with perhaps a few side trips.

SIMON MOUTTER

Chief executive Telecom.

What are your predictions for New Zealand in 2013?

New Zealanders will increasingly embrace the future as they see how communications technologies and their associated applications can enrich their lives, bring them closer to friends and families and make their businesses run smarter. Mobility will be a key driver as people make more use of smartphones and tablets to stay connected anywhere, any time.

The efforts of the private sector and Government over recent years to strengthen economic ties with Asia will continue to pay off. Asia is becoming much more than a factory and back-office for the world, and a market for our primary products. It's also a rising force in technology and innovation.

The Christchurch rebuild will pick up speed. Canterbury businesses are well placed to incorporate new communications technologies and connectivity into their workplaces. They're already ahead of the curve in areas like remote working - they've had to be, given their office buildings were munted in the earthquakes.

Business conditions will remain tough. But businesses will just get on with it - they'll accept that a low-growth economy is better than a no-growth economy.

How many people does New Zealand need?

It's more important that New Zealand encourages and benefits from increasing diversity in our population. A lot of the growth will come through more immigration from Asian countries which will strengthen our ties with the world's most dynamic and fastest growing region.

What's the biggest challenge New Zealand faces?

Embrace the fact we are a tiny nation and turn that to our advantage by being adaptable and nimble.

Where do you plan to spend the holidays?

Omaha Beach with my family.

ANDREW BARCLAY

Chief executive Goldman Sachs NZ.

What are your predictions for New Zealand in 2013?

The fiscal cliff will be averted and will become a distant memory by year end. Global equity markets will continue to improve and interest rate remain at historic lows.

Domestically, we will see the Christchurch rebuild gain further momentum and we will see our first successful listing of a state owned enterprise under the Mixed Ownership Model programme which will help reinvigorate capital markets.

We will see more women join boards of New Zealand companies as we realise the competitive advantage this offers us. We will continue to see the rise of the Asian economies in global economic leadership.

I also see a top 4 finish for the Blues!

How many people does New Zealand need?

It's a matter of the quality of our talent pool not the quantity. Our focus should be on investing and continuing to improve our education standards at all levels, increasing our economic productivity and becoming more efficient and innovative. Immigration or population growth per se is not the answer.

What's the biggest challenge New Zealand faces?

A comprehensive long term (30-year plus) economic development plan and the political consensus to apply it consistently.

Where do you plan to spend the holidays?

At the beach but the best part of it will be with my family doing volunteer work in the Pacific.

MARILYN WARING

Former National MP, professor of public policy at AUT's Institute of Public Policy.

What are your predictions for New Zealand in 2013?

A continuation of the growing disparity in income between the rich and poor, and no attempt to deal with this, in a context where evidence clearly demonstrates that higher "growth" rates (if that's what you are after) come with the lessening of gaps between rich and poor.

No attempts to focus on "wellbeing" as opposed to "growth", and so an increase in intergenerational ecological inequity; no capital gains tax, demonstrably the only real policy response to housing prices if you desire a different outcome; no real increase in women appointed to boards in the public or private sector, and no change in the gender pay gap.

Central government decisions continuing to be driven by ideology, as opposed to evidence, across many sectors; but some real progress and outcomes in the management and regulations regarding fresh water use in New Zealand.

Emerging leadership to put an end to the racist nonsense around Te Tiriti, and increasing recognition of the debt all who live in New Zealand owe to tangata whenua.

The dignity of marriage equality for all New Zealanders.

How many people does New Zealand need?

A wrong-headed question - no reason not the "need". . .

What's the biggest challenge New Zealand faces?

Changing male behaviour to eliminate violence against 55 per cent of New Zealand women who experience this.

Where do you plan to spend the holidays?

Places where I will body surf, play golf and watch tennis.

MICHELLE BOAG

Director, public relations practitioner, former National Party president and Prime Ministerial press secretary.

What are your predictions for New Zealand in 2013?

Rationalisation of the mainstream print media on a national basis because of a drop in revenue from online trends.

Government asset sales finally get off the ground, late. Mighty River Power shares are in huge demand. Len Brown gets re-elected as Mayor of Auckland.

A sustained economic crisis in Europe with another major economy in trouble - maybe Italy. New Zealand continues to do better than most of the rest of the world in economic terms.

David Shearer spends another year letting the Greens run rampant as the "official Opposition Spokespeople".

How many people does New Zealand need?

More than we currently have. Our immigration policies of recent years have given us a good cross-section of new immigrants, and good investment-friendly immigration policies can be a big boost to economic growth.

What's the biggest challenge New Zealand faces?

Resisting our default position of expecting the Government to solve all our problems.

Where do you plan to spend the holidays?

First Christmas off Waiheke for 10 years, going to the Gold Coast to play golf and lie in the sun for two weeks.

- Sunday Star Times

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