MOOD OF THE BOARDROOM - Too close to call? - 2017 Chief Executives' Survey - Our experts analyse the responses - Deloitte

 
MOOD OF THE BOARDROOM - Too close to call? - 2017 Chief Executives' Survey - Our experts analyse the responses - Deloitte
Tuesday September 12, 2017

      MOOD OF THE
      BOARDROOM
                  2017 Chief Executives’ Survey

         Too close to call?
            Our experts analyse the responses

Hamish Fletcher     Fran O’Sullivan   Liam Dann   Thomas Pippos
MOOD OF THE BOARDROOM - Too close to call? - 2017 Chief Executives' Survey - Our experts analyse the responses - Deloitte
D2                                                                                        nzherald.co.nz | The New Zealand Herald | Tuesday, September 12, 2017

MOOD OF THE BOARDROOM
Mood of the Boardroom 2017

                                           What’s Inside
Executive Editor: Fran O’Sullivan
Writers: Francis Cook, Liam Dann,
Hamish Fletcher, Anne Gibson, Tim
McCready, Tamsyn Parker, James
Penn, Thomas Pippos, Holly Ryan,
Graham Skellern.
Subeditor: Isobel Marriner
Cover: Rod Emmerson
Graphics: Isobel Marriner
Online: Sophie Ryan, Francis Cook
Advertising: Neil Cording; Megan
Shaw
Survey Co-ordination:Tim
McCready, James Penn
Event Stage Management: Rebecca
Widdison

The Herald’s Mood of the Boardroom
2017 Election Survey attracted
participation from 118 respondents.
This year there were more than 90
chief executives including CEOs of
most of NZ’s biggest companies, some
significant publicly owned institutions,
a handful of company chairs and the
                                           Wheels fall off the   What now for        The fight for finance: CEOs weigh
heads of seven influential business        Green machine, D8     Winston? D9          up Robertson and Joyce, D10-11
organisations.
The Herald survey is conducted in
association with BusinessNZ.
Chief executives are drawn from the
Deloitte Top 200 list which spans
private and public-sector companies,
Business NZ’s major companies group
and major professional advisory firms.
The survey is now in its 16th year
having been launched in December
2002 within a Herald State of the
Nation report.

Watch the debate
Shadow finance spokesman Grant
Robertson and National’s Finance
Minister Steven Joyce will debate the
results of the Herald survey at a
breakfast at the Langham hotel in
Auckland this morning.
The debate will be chaired by Herald
Managing Editor Shayne Currie.

nzherald.co.nz will feature video from
                                              The Trump            The growing        Education for                  What to do about
the debate and interviews with leading        factor, D14        cyber threat, D16   the future, D17                  our water, D25
CEOs attending the breakfast.

                                           Growing
                                           prosperity
                                           and potential
MOOD OF THE BOARDROOM - Too close to call? - 2017 Chief Executives' Survey - Our experts analyse the responses - Deloitte
D3

   MOOD OF THE BOARDROOM

A strong mood for change
A
            n overwhelming majority
            of chief executives see
            Jacinda Ardern’s confirma-
                                           88% of CEOs view Jacinda Ardern a gamechanger for the election, writes Fran O’Sullivan
            tion as leader of the Labour
Party as an election game-changer.
    There is a strong mood for change
among the 118 respondents to the
Herald’s Mood of the Boardroom Elec-
tion Survey.
    Some 88 per cent see Ardern as
the lightning rod which could cata-
pult Labour to power at the Septem-
ber 23 election. But their appetite for
regime change is tempered by
Labour’s failure to be upfront about
its intentions on major polices affect-
ing business, like capital gains.
    With less than a fortnight to run
before final polls close, chief execu-
tives remain divided on whether to
“call time” on the third term National
Government.
    “I think the National Government
has been a very credible and stable
manager that deserves respect for its
approach in managing the country,”
said a tourism boss. “However, it is
arguable that they have come late to
issues such as water management,
local infrastructure and transport in-     been slow. “On the other hand, it takes     are bringing to the table,” said                 The election comes after a lengthy       Tourism boss: “Paula or Steven
vestment with a piecemeal, below par       time to turn a super-tanker . . . and the   Mainfreight group managing director          period of economic growth. But there      would be a good stopgap, but it
approach.                                  tolerance for change in the popula-         Don Braid. “As long as that’s not            are tensions.                             ultimately needs someone to come
    “They need to get ahead of these       tion is slow.”                              thought up on the fly and has had                “The Key Government was negli-        from outside the system.”
issues and signal a strong intent as          If National was to get a fourth term     some decent thought behind it before         gent with the house price outcomes           There was a clear sentiment it was
these are real issues that affect          it needed to abandon its “steady as         they release it, then she’s definitely       which is a very difficult, inter-         time for generational change.
voters.”                                   she goes” approach and be more              got this current Government on the           generational issue now to resolve,”          Chief executives once again put
    The survey — which is taken in         aspirational in its approach to the big     run in my view.                              said an energy sector boss. “English      English at the top of the Cabinet
association with BusinessNZ — has          ticket items including water, climate,          “She’s got youth and she’s got           was Deputy Prime Minister and Min-        rankings on his performance over the
been in the field during one of the        homelessness and poverty.                   energy, and she’s almost — without           ister of Finance during that time so      past year. The Prime Minister rated
most volatile elections in New Zea-           English presided over New Zea-           blaspheming — the John Key effect            has to shoulder some of that blame,       4.13/5 on a 1-5 scale where 1 = not
land’s recent history.                                                                 for the Labour Party, isn’t she? And         and therefore putting the party’s in-     impressive and 5 = very impressive.
    The Herald delayed surveying un-           The result will turn on                 perhaps that’s what the younger vote         terest ahead of New Zealand.”                His rating was down on prior years
til August 14, so as to more accurately                                                is looking for, perhaps that’s what the          An energy chief cautioned that        when he held the finance portfolio.
capture the mood in the nation’s           Bill English’s ability to sell              non-voter has been looking for; some-        though New Zealand was enjoying              English’s successor as finance min-
boardrooms after a period in which
Ardern took over Labour’s’s leader-
                                             his dream for the future                  one to hang their hat on.”
                                                                                           Deloitte CEO Thomas Pippos
                                                                                                                                    good returns for dairy exports, export
                                                                                                                                    education and tourism, all had
                                                                                                                                                                              ister, Steven Joyce, was rated 3.71/5.
                                                                                                                                                                              Nikki Kaye was next on 3.62/5 fol-
ship from Andrew Little, and Greens         vis a vis Jacinda Ardern.                  counters that “this next period the          vulnerabilities which could wipe the      lowed by Amy Adams (3.58/5);
co-leader Metiria Turei was forced to         In both cases using the                  result will turn on Bill’s ability to sell   smile from our country’s face pretty      Bennett (3.56/5); Chris Finlayson
resign following an admission of                                                       his dream for the future vis a vis           quickly.                                  (3.49/5); Simon Bridges (3.18/5); Anne
benefit fraud.                                  canvas he has helped                   others (Jacinda) — in both cases using           “I think many of these risks con-     Tolley (3.11/5); Todd McClay (3.05/5).
    “They finally have a charismatic                                                   the canvas he has helped materially          cern business — not just for ourselves    The remaining ministers all rated less
leader,” said an investment banker.             materially shape and                   shape and build as Minister of               but more broadly for the wellbeing        than 3/5 when it came to their per-
“People these days vote with their                 build as Minister of                Finance.                                     of our society. I think currently we      formance.
eyes — she is much more appealing                                                          “A risk is that his focus will be on     are all marching on hoping that              When it came to ranking the minor
that Andrew Little!”                        Finance. A risk is that his                the canvas that now exists when the          Trump does not pull the trigger and       party leaders, they placed Act’s David
    There is a clear perception that the          focus will be on the                 general populous has banked that,            that the Chinese (with all the levers     Seymour top of their list with 2.85/5
National Government — driven by its                                                    and are now looking for what will be         available to them) manage their econ-     with NZ First’s Winston Peters nar-
own fiscal focus — left it too late to        canvas that now exists                   painted on it.”                              omy to avoid a crisis of the kind some    rowly behind at 2.76/5. The other
make major investments in housing
and infrastructure to underpin the
                                                    when the general                       But Ardern’s propensity to make
                                                                                       “Captain’s calls” on important matters
                                                                                                                                    consistently predict.”
                                                                                                                                        National’s future
                                                                                                                                                                              leaders: James Shaw (Greens), Te
                                                                                                                                                                              Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox (Ma-
massive uptick in immigration num-              populous has banked                    like capital gains taxes are a major             CEOs were split on who they           ori Party), Gareth Morgan (The Oppor-
bers in recent years.                      that and are now looking                    negative. “Now is not a time for             thought would make the best Oppo-         tunities Party) and Peter Dunne
    ICBC chairman and former Re-                                                       experimenting with a Labour Party            sition leader if National should lose     (United Future, who bowed out be-
serve Bank Governor Don Brash said           for what will be painted                  coalition whose policies are un-             the election — which is a clear possi-    fore the survey was completed) all
the Government has failed to adopt                                                     changed and its leadership has               bility on its current poll ratings.       rated at less than 2.5/5.
policies designed to increase per                                  on it.”             devolved on a doctrinaire and inex-              Some 27 per cent thought Deputy          Spark managing director Simon
capita growth, and many of the other                      Thomas Pippos, Deloitte      perienced political activist with no         Prime Minister Paula Bennett had the      Moutter says whoever wins, restoring
problems (increasing wealth inequal-                                                   real world experience,” said a law firm      right attributes to make the most         stable and consistent Government
ity, poverty and homelessness) are a       land’s finances for eight years before      boss.                                        vigorous leader; others opted for         post-election will be a priority. “Who-
direct result of the Government’s fail-    becoming prime minister. There was              Beca’s Greg Lowe noted however           Steven Joyce (20 per cent) and Judith     ever leads needs to move quickly to
ure to deal with the unaffordability       the GFC. Pike River. Three                  that, “Jacinda is quickly learning to        Collins (17 per cent).                    maintain momentum by establishing
of housing.                                earthquakes.                                present a more moderate approach                 “Paula has the guts and determina-    a stable team in Government.”
    Vector director and former                But nothing prepared him for the         than when she first became Deputy            tion to make a fine opposition leader     ● The Mood of the Boardroom CEOs
Deloitte Chairman of the Year, Dame        political quake that is Jacinda Ardern.     Leader. “It remains to be seen if she        — she has time, energy and                Election Survey was in the field from
Alison Paterson said Government ac-           “Labour’s got to seriously think         can modernise entrenched Labour              whakapapa on her side,” said an           Monday August 14 to Friday Septem-
tion on some important issues had          about some of the policy that they          policy.”                                     agribusiness chair.                       ber 8, 2017.

  Business leaders are                      The US presidency is                       The next five years will                     Social cohesion helps                    CEOs apprehensive
  optimistic: if there’s a                  spoiling an optimistic                     see business move                            business to                              over arrival of global
  threat, it’s global,                      outlook, writes Tim                        even faster, writes                          prosper, writes                          behemoths, writes
  writes Liam Dann D13                      McCready D14                               James Penn D15                               Thomas Pippos D22                        Hamish Fletcher D20
MOOD OF THE BOARDROOM - Too close to call? - 2017 Chief Executives' Survey - Our experts analyse the responses - Deloitte
D4                                                                                                                                    nzherald.co.nz | The New Zealand Herald | Tuesday, September 12, 2017

MOOD OF THE BOARDROOM

HOW DO THE CHIEFS
Jacinda Ardern
Courage                                                                                          3.63

integrity                                                                                        3.51

Trustworthiness                                                                                  3.34

Leadership                                                                                       3.29

Political management                                                                             3.25

Ability to form a coalition                                                                      3.01

Puts NZ’s interest over party’s                                                                  2.92

Vision and strategy for NZ                                                                       2.92

Economic management                                                                              2.08

The ‘game-changer’
J
          acinda Ardern’s charisma, her     on water use for farmers will be 1 cent       Recent polling shows this is the case
          ability to appeal to a younger    or 2 (a difference of 100 per cent).          with Labour — jumping from 24 per
          generation, and her much          Many consider this unacceptable for           cent to 43 per cent in the latest 1 News
          sought after ‘cut-through’ that   a party that has been nine years in           Colmar Brunton poll; its highest
former leader Andrew Little just            opposition.                                   polling in 12 years.
couldn’t seem to muster are some of             “We have not seen Jacinda Ardern              Port of Tauranga chief executive
her most admired attributes by chief        in a leadership role for long but the         Mark Cairns says: “An intelligent poli-
executives.                                 initial signs appear impressive — not         tician with clearly a freshening of the
    “It is refreshing to have an Oppo-      least in galvanising the Labour Oppo-         Labour brand. Early days though to
sition leader with a more positive          sition into campaigning hard to win           judge Jacinda on producing sound
outlook on life, rather than one that       the election and creating some self-          policies (economic as well as social)
is stuck in the past or in a negative       belief,” says Forsyth Barr managing           and her skills at political manage-
loop,” said a transport head.               director Neil Paviour-Smith.                  ment.”
    Says Mainfreight’s Don Braid:               Adds EMA’s Kim Campbell: “It’s too            Adds Beca’s Greg Lowe: “Jacinda
“There is clearly a level of enthusi-       early to tell how good an administra-         Ardern is putting on a polished per-
asm, energy and commitment to               tor she will be.                              formance but as she has no track
what is lacking in New Zealand at the           “We need to see more substance            record her ability to lead effectively,
moment.                                     in policy development.                        manage the economy and put for-
    “An injection of youthful energy            “She is a superb communicator             ward policy that moves New Zealand
and vision is sorely needed.”               with a very engaging social style. We         forward is unproven.”
    “Much is unknown, but perhaps           have yet to see her perform under                 “I really don’t know… and nor do
that’s the best way to be going into        pressure.”                                    most voters,” explained non-
an election when she has the ‘X’                “I don’t know enough about her            executive director Joanna Perry.
factor,” says Simplicity’s Sam Stubbs.      capabilities to be useful but give her        “The trouble is a lot of people will
    Although CEOs respect Ardern’s          10/10 for courage taking over as              forget that she is unproven and make
courage — stepping into the Labour
leadership role less than two months
out from the election — most are
worried she lacks experience and her
unusually short job interview for
Prime Minister won’t give the public
the chance to see her tested for the
                                            leader with eight weeks to go to a
                                            general election,” says a banking boss.
                                            “But she has been very fluffy on tax
                                            policy and how we are going to pay
                                            for all the election promises.
                                                “It feels like a tax hike for the 12
                                            per cent of New Zealanders who
                                                                                          assumptions (in their gut!) about
                                                                                          these things.”
                                                                                              A legal boss summed up the gen-
                                                                                          eral sentiment from CEOs: “Jacinda is
                                                                                          a very likable person. She is politically
                                                                                          very savvy.
                                                                                              “She seems to care greatly about
                                                                                                                                       ,,                I give her 10/10
                                                                                                                                                         for courage
                                                                                                                                                         taking over as
top job. “An impressive start as leader     already pay 75 per cent of tax in New         issues many Kiwis care about — social                          leader with
of the Labour Party but untested            Zealand.”                                     injustice and our environment, for
under pressure in her national lead-            A law firm boss said in any event,        example.                                                       eight weeks to
ership,” observed Rob Cameron of            she is likely to persuade many voters             “She is a game-changer in this
Cameron Partners.                           to ‘give her go’ without having to            election.                                                      go to a general
    There is significant concern            prove her credentials as potential                “However, she is very young, and
among chief executives that Ardern          Prime Minister.                               while that appeals to many, for others                         election.
has failed to articulate the detail of          “She is in the right place at the right   in an uncertain world we may feel
some of her policies. In particular, tax    time.”                                        safer with the more experienced                                Banking leader
policies including the expected capi-           Speaking publicly for the first time      hands of Bill English.
tal gains tax and a failure to provide      as leader, Ardern said: “We are about             “Some may not see him as exciting,
detail on whether the proposed levy         to run the campaign of our lives”.            but experienced.”
MOOD OF THE BOARDROOM - Too close to call? - 2017 Chief Executives' Survey - Our experts analyse the responses - Deloitte
D5

MOOD OF THE BOARDROOM

RATE THE LEADERS?
                                                       Bill English
                                                       Economic management                                                                                4.70

                                                       Integrity                                                                                          4.20

                                                       Trustworthiness                                                                                    4.17

                                                       Puts NZ’s interest over party’s                                                                    3.83

                                                       Courage                                                                                            3.62

                                                       Ability to form a coalition                                                                        3.50

                                                       Vision and strategy for NZ                                                                         3.46

                                                       Leadership                                                                                         3.37

                                                       Political management                                                                               3.31

                                 ‘Political horsepower’
                                 B
                                           ill English is admired by chief   Cairns, “Bill has done a fantastic job as       “He is a solid performer but vulner-
                                           executives for his financial      finance minister in getting the country     able to a charismatic opponent be-
                                           prowess. But they feel a lack     through the GFC and two earthquakes         cause the electorate in general prob-
                                           of boldness and political         with the books in reasonable shape.”        ably seeks a bit of excitement,” said a
                                 chutzpah hold him back.                        On the personal front, English is        lawyer. “The missing attribute is
                                    English became Prime Minister in         seen as variously as a “nice man and        appeal,” added a manufacturing chief.
                                 December 2016 after John Key’s unex-        good family man”.                               “I’m a big English fan as Minister of
                                 pected resignation.                            “Bill is a fabulous servant of NZ who    Finance,” said an exporter. “He’s a
                                    “It is challenging replacing one of      in private settings is a funny, warm and    brilliant second in charge and a safe
                                 NZ’s most popular Prime Ministers less      relaxed individual who has done a           pair of hands.
                                 than a year out from the election, said     tremendous job for New Zealand                  “But he doesn’t have the political
                                 Forsyth Barr managing director Neil         economically,” said a leading invest-       management or delivery required by
                                 Paviour-Smith.                              ment banker. “He has trouble                a good PM.
                                    A longtime National MP, English was      connecting or conveying these                   “The party looks and feels staid and
                                 briefly Finance Minister in the 1990s       qualities in the mass media format.”        flat-footed under his leadership even
                                 Bolger Government.                             EMA chief Kim Campbell was per-          though not much has changed in term
                                    He reclaimed the finance portfolio       ceptive.” His self-effacing Southern re-    of economic management.”
                                 in 2008 when the Key Government             serve is misconstrued as blandness.             Ironically some of the most cutting
                                 took office in the midst of the Global         “Sadly we live in an the age of          criticism comes from the financial
                                 Financial Crisis.                           celebrity and infotainment where im-        community.
                                    CEOs rate his focus on getting the       age dominates substance,” explained             “Mr English was a reasonably com-
                                 Government’s books back into the            Campbell. “He has shown an astute           petent ‘status quo Minister of Finance’,
                                 black as the most significant achieve-      hand at managing the economy and            holding the line on government spend-
                                 ment of the National Government             been an innovator on social issues.”        ing against the usual pressures from
                                 since the 2014 election.                       English — a former Treasury official     spending ministers,” said a senior
                                    Investment banker Rob Cameron,           himself — has introduced significant        banker. “But he failed to do nearly

      ,,     He has
             shown an
             astute hand
                                 who was himself one of Treasury’s
                                 architects of the major 1980s economic
                                 reforms during the Lange/Douglas era,
                                 describes English as “an outstanding
                                 and hardworking Minister of Finance”.
                                    “He is still being tested in the PM’s
                                 role in relation to political manage-
                                                                             Government-led social reforms which
                                                                             have won international praise particu-
                                                                             larly from the Australian Liberal Gov-
                                                                             ernment,
                                                                                Said AIA chair Theresa Gattung, “Bill
                                                                             is completely genuine in his focus on
                                                                             social investment and putting in place
                                                                                                                         enough to solve the Auckland housing
                                                                                                                         crisis (though clearly understanding
                                                                                                                         what needed to be done), or to make
                                                                                                                         the structural changes which might
                                                                                                                         have improved our productivity per-
                                                                                                                         formance.”
                                                                                                                             English’s brand was tarnished by the
             at managing         ment and ability to form a coalition.”      game changing solutions to inter-           “Todd Barclay affair” which saw the
                                    Others laud him as the economic          generational poverty and some of New        young MP forced to resign after his
             the                 architect” and the “political horse-        Zealand’s most entrenched social prob-      former electorate secretary revealed
                                 power” of much of New Zealand’s             lems.”                                      he had made secret tapes of conver-
             economy             success.                                       Adds Paviour-Smith,“The Prime            sations.
                                    “We are lucky to have him,” says         Minister has championed the social              The prime minister — who repre-
             and been an         Chorus boss Kate MeKenzie. “I often         investment approach, being prepared         sented the electorate before Barclay —
                                 hear him described as the ‘brains of the    to admit that previous approaches           was well across the former MP’s
             innovator on        outfit’”.                                   haven’t worked and holding agencies         actions.
                                    “He deserves to be rewarded for his      to account to know what the problems            “He has taken a hit with the Todd
             social issues.      outstanding economic stewardship,”          are and seek alternative solutions.”        Barclay stuff,” said a legal firm chief.
                                 affirmed an agribusiness boss.                 But CEOs feel English is being held      “But it is a tough challenge to show the
             Kim Campbell, EMA      Said Port of Tauranga boss Mark          back by a lack of charisma.                 vibrancy of a three-term Government.”
MOOD OF THE BOARDROOM - Too close to call? - 2017 Chief Executives' Survey - Our experts analyse the responses - Deloitte
D6                                                                                                                                                   nzherald.co.nz | The New Zealand Herald | Tuesday, September 12, 2017

MOOD OF THE BOARDROOM

We’ve lost the vision: Mainfreight boss
                              Don Braid

We’ve forgotten about what we do
about investing for the future.
     The infrastructure of the country
both in transportation, education,
                                                                           ,,                We’re sort of being run by a couple of
                                                                                             accountants, rather than visionaries, and
                                                                                             I think the country needs some
                                                                                                                                                                                 number of houses that are needed.
                                                                                                                                                                                     A lot of nations around the world are
                                                                                                                                                                                 coming up with innovative ways to get
                                                                                                                                                                                 around that problem. If we were to look
                                                                                                                                                                                 at some of the things they’re doing in
                                                                                                                                                                                 London. How the loan structure is
housing, water — all those things, have                                                                                                                                          placed. Whether the local government
been forgotten about in our view. And                                                        visionaries.                                                                        will take a portion of the loan if a person
now we need to have an intense look                                                                                                                                              can find 40 per cent. Easing the rules
at where the country sits to fund the                                                                                                                                            as they’ve done in Stockholm or
growth of the population, to fund the        money, and dish it out when they think      period of time the voter would’ve          to think bigger and we need to think         Copenhagen, where they’re not so strict
tourism that the country has found —         it’s ready, or, when they think they need   understood that they’re the                more offshore. We need to                    with the RMA-type rule, to allow
which is all good for us, but we’ll lose     it for perhaps political gain rather than   government for the next term.              internationalise our businesses. We          cheaper, more affordable homes to be
it if we don’t look after it.                for economic gain for the country,             I’m worried about whether the           have a great labour force here that can      built.
     You know, with all due respect, we’re   might well be some of the problem.          Government are thinking longer term;       compete with any other labour force              Many countries are educating their
sort of being run by a couple of                  The indictment comes when you          and perhaps that comes also to the         in the world. We just need both the          children a lot better than we are here.
accountants, rather than visionaries,        have a current Government who have          political term that we allow these         government and the businesses of New         We need to think about those trends.
and I think the country needs some           been in power for three terms, who then     governments. Is three years far too        Zealand to think about those                 We need an educated workforce. I think
visionaries.                                 on the basis of electioneering suddenly     short? We would say that it is. Four       opportunities that are offshore.             the Government has to listen to what
     I think we need to rethink our          find money available for certain            years plus might well be a far better          We need to find a way to have            business is saying and has to listen to
political landscape for the future.          projects to actually tick the political     term of government and allow them to       affordable housing and we need to            the people. And I think this current
     This old style of sending all our tax   landscape box. Whereas perhaps it           think more strategically about the         invest in that affordable housing sooner     Government isn’t listening enough.”
money to Wellington for them to decide       might well have been better, that if        future.                                    rather than later. I just don’t think that       Source: Mood of the Boardroom
what they do with it as if it’s their        they’d continued to invest over a longer       Fom a business perspective we need      there is enough energy around the            leaders series video interview.

Target those who need cuts
     Tim McCready and James Penn                “We can achieve our social and our       the right time to bring in a new           New Zealand tax burden is paid by

T
                                             environmental objectives at the same        progressive tax rate on high earners.      a small number of supposedly high-
          he Government’s election           time as having a strong economy,”           A large majority — 79 per cent —           income salary earners,” says an
          year Budget contained $2           said English during the recent TVNZ1        responded no. Just 13 per cent re-         agribusiness boss. “A new progressive
          billion worth of tax cuts from     leaders debate.                             sponded yes; 8 per cent were unsure.       tax would make this burden worse.”
          April next year — on the              “We can have a strong economy               Many chief executives were con-         Others suggested a wealth tax or
proviso National gets elected on Sep-        with reasonable taxes, give hard            cerned this would discourage growth        capital gains tax might be more pro-
tember 23.                                   working families $1000 a year on the        and could make it difficult to attract     ductive in the long-term.
   When the Mood of the Boardroom            average wage, that they can make            and retain skilled workers in New             The other major form of tax paid
asked CEOs whether now is the right          some choices about.”                        Zealand. “We don’t want to drive           by individuals is GST. Executives
time to apply personal income tax                                                        talent offshore,” says Mai Chen, Man-      were keen to see a movement to-
cuts, the majority of chief executives
(56 per cent) responded no, 38 per
                                             Tax cuts?                                   aging Partner of Chen Palmer.
                                                                                            Most of those who responded in
                                                                                                                                    wards a regime where GST (as well
                                                                                                                                    as regional petrol taxes) was returned

                                             56%
cent said yes, and a further 6 per cent                                                  favour to raising taxes for high           to the regions in which it was col-
were unsure.                                                                             earners had a caveat: “it is subject to    lected, with the purpose of applying
   “Tax at the current level is work-                                                    where reinvestment goes,” said a me-       that revenue to local economic de-           Thomas Song’s Top
able, there is no urgency,” says             No                                          dia boss. “As long as the proceeds are     velopment. Indeed, 76 per cent of            Three Issues

                                             38%
Thomas Song, Oregon Group manag-                                                         targeted towards eliminating inequal-      respondents supported such a policy.         ●    Productivity: Every factor of
ing director, while a recruitment head                                                   ity,” said another.                           Don Braid, group managing direc-              input is expensive due to the
suggests tax cuts are a good idea “if                                                       There was scepticism among              tor at Mainfreight, was one of those             political insistence on New
you want to buy votes”.                      Yes                                         respondents that increasing the tax        in favour. “It is so important this              Zealand labour. If we buy

                                             6%
   Many responded that any tax cuts                                                      burden on high income earners              debate is had,” said Braid. “Having              infrastructure, we should buy
should be targeted to low and mid-                                                       would help contribute to long-term         Wellington think they have the                   “quality and speed at cheapest
income earners. “Target those that                                                       productivity and societal gains, and       answers for how much is spent on                 price”. How the supplier delivers
really need it,” says the managing           Unsure                                      would be against global trends.            infrastructure in the regions is yester-         shouldn’t be our concern except,
director of a public relations firm.                                                        “Higher earners will generally still    day’s answer. We need to be thinking             of course, slave labour excluded.
“Give cuts to lower and middle-                 “There is still too much to do in        spend a high proportion of their dis-      about a bottom up approach to re-
income earners as a matter of ur-            New Zealand,” says a major banking          posable income,” explains a printing       gional tax investment.”                      ●   Ignorance of world affairs:
gency,” said a wine industry execu-          boss. “Infrastructure investments,          boss. “The Government collects GST            Enthusiasm wasn’t universal.                  Move to educate with diverse
tive. “Giving cuts to top bracket            and fixing our schools and hospitals.       from every additional dollar spent,           “Having seen the standard we cur-             sources of teachers from offshore.
achieves nothing.”                           After that, maybe.”                         and they are more likely to spend in       rently have a local government level,        ●    Complacency. The average Kiwi
   Most respondents felt that                   Vector Director Dame Alison              areas such as medical insurance and        further devolution of power would                has very little idea about our
investing into other areas — particu-        Paterson agrees: “I think the majority      private education, resulting in a lesser   need to be coupled with a major                  largest trade partner — China. Most
larly housing, infrastructure, educa-        of New Zealanders believe that while        load on government services.”              rethink on how to attract talent and             still believe China is still in the
tion, health and climate change — is         there are children living below the            Several CEOs worry that increas-        experience to move into that space.”             Mao era with cheap labour. Again
more important.                              poverty line, there should be no per-       ing tax on higher earners could lead          “Daft idea,” said one executive.              make knowledge of our trading
   But Bill English disputes that you        sonal income tax cuts.”                     to an increase in tax avoidance            “Local government would just waste               partners a priority.
can’t have both.                                CEOs were asked whether now is           measures. “A huge proportion of the        the money.”

Regions should grab share of tax revenue
Investment needs to go into regional New Zealand to support economic growth, says Simpson Grierson’s Kevin Jaffe
Central and local government politi-
cians need “take it by the teeth and
get stuck in to” relieving the strain on
housing and infrastructure, says
Kevin Jaffe, chairman of the law firm
Simpson Grierson.
                                                                                         Kevin Jaffe’s Top
                                                                                         Three Issues
                                                                                         ●    Revenue growth areas. “Our
                                                                                             market is very competitive and
                                                                                             we have to find ways of doing
                                                                                                                                        ,,                Rating only goes so far and
                                                                                                                                                          local and central governments
                                                                                                                                                          must work together to develop
   He says though the economy is                                                             things better and engage deeper
strong, the population growth and                                                            with our clients.”                                           funding mechanisms (for the
rise in tourism has placed pressures
on infrastructure and housing.                                                           ●   Staff retention. “The labour
                                                                                             market is good and we are finding
                                                                                                                                                          regions)
   In a survey completed by Simpson
Grierson, 80 per cent of the Local                                                           good people including attracting
Government mayors and chairs said                                                            some back from overseas.”              local economies to be strong. But            it will make a real difference to infra-
their key issues were funding of infra-                                                  ●   Technology development. “We            investment needs to go into the              structure or is it just another tax?”
structure and housing affordability.                                                         are looking at how we work and         regions to support their growth.”               Jaffe does not favour any further
   “There is an appetite for a more                                                          what technology can do for us.            Jaffe believes the government             tax impost on the residential property
certain flow of regional funding.                                                            We can change our services and         should be open to sharing tax                sector. “A capital gains and/or other
Rating only goes so far and local and                                                        have staff working offsite at a        revenue (such as GST or regional             property taxes such as stamp duty
central governments must work                                                                client’s place. That’s where we are    petrol taxes) with the regions in            could be the tipping point for the
together to develop funding mechan-                                                          heading — to deliver a point of        which the revenue is collected — and         sector.
isms,” says Jaffe.                                                                           difference and keep our talent.”       those proceeds directed towards lo-             “The demand side has softened
   Take Auckland. “People have                                                                                                      cal economic development.                    and that could be the result of the
woken up to the fact that the city is                                                                                                  “Central and local government             loan-to-value ratio restrictions.
straining and it needs new infra-            around the Unitary Plan to enable an        local government to keep working           need to find alternative funding.               “Maybe they have done the trick
structure. The City Rail Link project,       increase in the housing supply. That        together to increase targeted invest-      Whether regional fuel tax is the smart       and taken the heat out of the overseas
for example, required a number (of           process was quick and it made a             ment into infrastructure and housing.      way to go, I’m not sure. The figures         investment,” says Jaffe. “Further taxes
people) to work together.                    difference.”                                   “It’s a good thing people are mov-      I saw for fuel tax in Auckland wasn’t        may be a step too far.”
   “A lot of good work was done                 Jaffe says the key is for central and    ing into the regions, as we want the       a real winner. The issue is whether                              — Graham Skellern
MOOD OF THE BOARDROOM - Too close to call? - 2017 Chief Executives' Survey - Our experts analyse the responses - Deloitte
D7

MOOD OF THE BOARDROOM

The tale of two report cards
                         Tim McCready
                                                 CEOs rated the National-led Government on                                         rating of 2.43/5. “New Zealand’s per-

W
                                                                                                                                   formance on a global scale has been
              hen asked to consider              their performance in key areas since the 2014                                     impressive in comparison to most
              the National-led Gov-
              ernment on its perform-
                                                 election on a 1-5 scale, where 1= not impressive                                  economies and National deserve
                                                                                                                                   credit for that,” says a director of two
              ance in key areas since            and 5= very impressive.                                                           prominent companies. “But there are
the 2014 election, CEOs rated the                                                                                                  some notable underachievements,
Budget surplus focus at 4.55/5 s most
highly, followed closely by economic
                                                 The Top Five              The Bottom Five                                         including the rise of homelessness —
                                                                                                                                   just walk along Queen St.”

                                                 4.55                                     2.43
growth at 4.21/5.                                                                                                                     When asked “should we be doing
   This is perhaps unsurprising given                                                                                              more to help the homeless popula-
this year’s Budget showing the Gov-                                                                                                tion?” 85 per cent of CEOs said yes,
ernment recording a stronger oper-               Budget surplus focus                     Tackling housing issues                  5 per cent no, and 10 per cent were
                                                                                                                                                                              Cathy Quinn’s Top
                                                 4.21                                     2.43
ating surplus than was forecast, and                                                                                               unsure.
the recently released Pre-Election Fis-                                                                                               “Homelessness is simply not the         Three Issues
cal Economic Update showing a ro-                                                                                                  New Zealand way. We fail ourselves         ●    Retreat to protectionism around
bust economy growing at an average               Economic growth                          Mental health (including suicide)        as a society by condoning it in any            the world: All we can do is to keep

                                                 4.19                                     2.43
of around 3 per cent over the next                                                                                                 form,” says Simplicity managing                advocating for open trade and
four years.                                                                                                                        director Sam Stubbs.                           opening doors with others.
   “The country has benefited on                                                                                                      Stubbs was not alone with this
many fronts from stable and skilled              International trade                      Poverty and homelessness                 sentiment. “Everyone needs a home,”        ● Trump commencing war with

                                                 4.10                                     2.50
economic policy making,” says Beca                                                                                                 and “there is always more to be done           North Korea: Bill English openly
Group chief executive Greg Lowe.                                                                                                   in this space,” and “surely this prob-         warning US against it took moral
   But survey respondents cautioned                                                                                                lem is solvable” were comments                 courage. I think it is a position
though National can be proud of the              Strengthening China relationship         Environmental / water quality            peppered throughout this year’s sur-           every Kiwi would agree with.

                                                 4.06                                     2.56
economic health of the country, there                                                                                              vey responses.                             ● The divide between the haves
are significant social issues that need                                                                                               But how to tackle poverty and               and have nots: I would support a
tackling.                                                                                                                          homelessness was much harder for               programme that provides housing
   “National’s steady as she goes ap-            New Zealand’s place in the world         The wealth gap                           business leaders to agree upon.                for the homeless and support for
proach needs to change up if they get                                                                                                 “Give tax breaks to low and mid-            children in deprived families. The
another term,” says an agribusiness              constituency: farmers and home           deal with the unaffordability of hous-   income people and stop the merry go            challenge is getting the money
chairman. “They must be more                     owners.”                                 ing.”                                    round of money,” says Erica Craw-              spent where we want it to be. For
aspirational in their approach to the               New Zealand’s growing inequality         A legal boss gave National a ruth-    ford, Loveblock Wine chief executive.          example, on kids in deprived
big-ticket items including water, clim-          gave National another poor score,        less assessment: “They have not lis-        “Our people are struggling and kids         circumstances and not diverted
ate, homelessness and poverty.”                  with the wealth gap receiving 2.56/5.    tened on housing ideas; allowed con-     struggling to learn. Too many home-            off elsewhere. It is in no one’s
   This tale of two very different                  Research released by Oxfam            tinued Chinese money launderers a        less and hungry. Do something.”                interest to simply provide dollars
report cards is obvious in the survey,           earlier this year showed the richest     free pass via housing access; missed        The challenge now for National is           without a degree of confidence
with National’s performance tackling             1 per cent hold 20 per cent of the       opportunities to intervene in the mar-   to clarify what their vision for the           that it ends up helping those who
housing issues (2.43/5), environmen-             wealth in New Zealand, while 90 per      ket as Australia, Hong Kong and          future is — for both New Zealand and           are most in need. Fundamentally,
tal/water quality (2.50/5) and poverty           cent of the population owns less than    Singapore have done; messed up citi-     New Zealanders, explains Deloitte              as a society I believe the majority
and homelessness (2.43/5) among the              half of the nation’s wealth.             zenship and residency revenue and        chief executive Thomas Pippos.                 want to see the vulnerable looked
five lowest scoring areas.                          ICBC chairman Don Brash says          allowed Auckland Council to con-         “They need to capture the hearts,              after appropriately. We find it
   “There are plenty of gaps starting            many of these issues are interlinked,    tinue to mess up the city.”              souls and minds of the voting public           abhorrent — for whatever reason
to appear,” says an automotive chief             with housing the crux of the problem:       Poverty and homelessness was          around it — not straightforward for            — that kids have no home, damp
executive. “They have not addressed              “increasing wealth inequality, pov-      rated by CEOs as one of the Govern-      anyone given the shallow decision-             homes, insufficient food, no shoes.
environment and housing that well                erty and homelessness are all a direct   ment’s poorest performing areas          making criteria it seems the average           That is not the NZ most of us want.
as they don’t want to offend their               result of the Government’s failure to    since the 2014 election, receiving a     voter adopts.”

        Perspective matters
        The future asks more of business. A need
        for wider knowledge, swifter actions and
        more agile capability. A demand to look
        at the world from a whole new viewpoint.
        Deloitte helps you identify new perspectives
        that will drive decisions; to build confidence
        in shaping the solutions that matter.

        For a fresh view on ways to answer your
        business challenges, get in touch with us at
        deloitte.co.nz

        © 2017. For information, contact Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.
MOOD OF THE BOARDROOM - Too close to call? - 2017 Chief Executives' Survey - Our experts analyse the responses - Deloitte
D8                                                                                                                                               nzherald.co.nz | The New Zealand Herald | Tuesday, September 12, 2017

MOOD OF THE BOARDROOM

James Shaw on the back foot
Turei affair has caused too much damage,
and Labour has forged ahead, say CEOs

C
           hief    executives      have     party’s sole leader.
           strongly marked down                “It has become a joke,” says a
           Greens leader James Shaw’s       banker. “The Greens were clearly out
           leadership abilities in the      to steal votes from Labour with their
wake of the Metiria Turei scandal           announcement of a no-questions-
which claimed the career of his for-        asked welfare policy, and Labour
mer co-leader.                              have clearly done their best to steal
   Whereas last year, CEOs ranked           those votes back again, helped by Ms
Shaw second in their performance            Turei’s extraordinary performance.”
rankings for Opposition MPs, this year         Chief executives had to this point
he has slumped to ninth place just          considered Shaw an asset to the
behind fellow Green MP Julie-Anne           Green Party. He has an impressive
Genter.                                     background, with a pre-politics career
   It is a stunning turnabout for the       in management consulting, working
MP last year’s Mood of the Boardroom        offshore with multinationals to de-
had billed as part of a “dream team         velop their sustainable business prac-
for the future” along with first-ranked     tices.                                                                                                                                                 James Shaw has
Opposition MP Jacinda Ardern.                  Stick to the environment                                                                                                                            been criticised
   “James disappointingly has been             CEOs believe the Greens should                                                                                                                      for his handling
damaged by the Metiria issue and            now “stick to their knitting” and                                                                                                                      of the Metiria
undone all the good work securing           refocus on environmental policies                                                                                                                      Turei affair.
new urban Green voters. He lacked           instead of standing by while Labour
decisiveness on an issue that was
black and white,” says a transport
                                            and National grab terrritory.
                                               A banking boss says: “If James
                                                                                       Blue Greens                               ticular was in the polls,” says Deloitte
                                                                                                                                 CEO Thomas Pippos. “In terms of
                                                                                                                                                                            parties of change.
                                                                                                                                                                               “If you want a progressive, Labour-

                                                                                       78%
CEO.                                        Shaw can make the Greens a truly                                                     today, I would have thought the            led government, the Green Party has
   A professional director agrees: “I       environmental party — rather than a                                                  Greens would be better placed out of       to be at the heart of that government
would have rated James a five six           party of social justice activists and                                                it and more focused on Green issues        because they won’t be able to govern
weeks ago, but his handling of the          protests — that will be good.              of respondents think Labour should        in and around the centre; as they          without us.”
Turei affair was appalling and the             “It will push Labour and National       scrap its Memorandum of                   could naturally, under an MMP en-             But many CEOs disagree, saying
Greens are damaged almost to the            to up their game around New Zea-           Understanding with the Green Party        vironment, be within successive Gov-       that a blue-green government is one
point of extinction as a result.”           land’s      pressing     environmental                                               ernments for extended periods of           they could get behind.
   Chief executives believe Shaw            issues.”                                   understanding (MoU) that Labour           time.”                                        “Greens should work with National
should have called time on Turei after         “The Greens need to provide the         and the Greens forged in May 2016             During Three’s recent The Nation       to form a government” says Onno
her admission she had intentionally         necessary environmental platform           should be scrapped.                       debate, Shaw was asked why the             Mulder, City Care Group CEO.
misled authorities about her living         and stand strongly on that platform,”         Others think it had its merits when    Green Party did not transcend left            Mainfreight group managing direc-
costs while on the DPB.                     says a wine industry boss. “Sadly,         the Opposition needed to project an       and right as it said it would when it      tor Don Braid offers the Green Party
   Her admission of benefit fraud           they have neglected the environmen-        alternative option to a popular           was set up.                                and Shaw sage advice: “Get on and
initially spiked the Greens poll ratings.   tal aspect for a Labour agenda.”           National-led government.                      Shaw explained: “We felt it was        believe in yourselves rather than
But outrage grew after further                 Labour’s eleventh-hour leadership          “The context in which it was signed    only fair to voters who want to know       worrying about who you might need
revelations that Turei had registered       change to Ardern has seen her re-          is more part of the past than the         which way their vote is going to count     at your side, or not!”
at her former partner’s address in a        claim the progressive agenda as her        present given where Labour in par-        that we would say we’re with the                                 — Tim McCready
prior election in order to vote for a       party hoovers up the soft Green vote.
friend.                                        An automotive sector boss said the
   The fallout continued when Ken-          leadership spill had demonstrated
nedy Graham and David Clendon —             they are not sure themselves whether
two of the Greens’ most long-serving        they are environmentalists, left-
and respected MPs — quit in protest,        wingers or a Third Way party.
saying they could no longer support            “Talk to James and you might
the leadership. The killer blow came        think the latter, but I’m no longer sure
when a Newshub-Reid Research poll           and Jacinda might be better without
revealed a slump in support for the         them.”
Greens — down 4.7 points to 8.3 per            Scrap the MoU with Labour
cent. Turei finally admitted defeat            Some 78 per cent of CEOs now
and stood down leaving Shaw as the          think that the memorandum of

  The First XV:                                                                        Tell me: Who are you?
  How they rate                                                                        “Raise your profile” is the overwhelm-
                                                                                       ing message from CEOs when asked
                                                                                       about Opposition MPs.
                                                                                          While most were rated an average
  Jacinda Ardern (Labour Leader)                                          3.81         of between two and three (out of a
                                                                                       possible five), an alarming proportion
  Kelvin Davis (Labour Deputy )                                          2.97          of “Unsure” votes were given as well.
                                                                                          MPs such as Labour’s Chris Hipkins
  Grant Robertson (Labour)                                               2.96          and Dr David Clark and NZ First’s
                                                                                       Tracey Martin all received “Unsure”
  Stuart Nash (Labour)                                                   2.82          responses from over 40 per cent of
                                                                                       respondents, for example.
  Phil Twyford (Labour)                                                  2.82             Martin was ranked lowest overall
                                                                                       of 20 Opposition MPs rated by
  Winston Peters NZ First Leader)                                        2.64          respondents, with an average rating
                                                                                       of just 1.57.
  David Parker (Labour)                                                  2.54             This translated into uncertainty
                                                                                       and pessimism about a potential
  Julie Anne Genter (Greens)                                             2.49          alternative government.
                                                                                          “What do these people actually
  James Shaw (Greens Leader)                                             2.43          do?” asked the director of a law firm.
                                                                                       “One hears nothing of them until          Chris Hipkins                              Tracey Martin
  Dr David Clark (Labour)                                                2.35          election year.”
                                                                                          “There is a lot about a Labour         spokesperson Grant Robertson on            an average rating of 2.64. This was a
  Dr Megan Woods (Labour)                                                2.25          government that is unknown — and          2.96.                                      slight drop on his rating from last year
                                                                                       thus risky,” said Rob Cameron,               “The bench strength outside of any      (2.90).
  Andrew Little (Labour)                                                 2.06          founding partner of investment bank-      Government always suffers from a               “Winston gets a midway mark for
                                                                                       ing firm Cameron Partners.                concern around whether they are            being Winston,” summarised one
  Chris Hipkins (Labour)                                                 2.04                                                    ‘game fit’,” said Deloitte CEO Thomas      business leader.
                                                                                          However, cause for cheer will be       Pippos. “The inexperience in this case         “Really!” said one investment
  Carmel Sepuloni (Labour)                                               1.98          the performance of Labour’s core          exacerbated by the number that have        banker, when asked his opinions on
                                                                                       election team.                            never been in Government — or if in        Peters’s key election policies. “Is that
  Gareth Hughes (Greens)                                                 1.86             Leader Jacinda Ardern was well in      Government, in lesser roles and 9          all they have got?”
                                                                                       front, with an impressive average         years ago . . . but everyone starts            “Dog whistle — playing to the base,”
  The CEOs rated leading Opposition MPs' performance over                              rating of 3.81.                           somewhere.”                                said Matthew Cockram, CEO of
  the past year on a scale of 1-5 where 1= not impressive                                 She was flanked — as in the election      NZ First leader Winston Peters          Cooper and Company. “None of these
  and 5= very impressive.                                                              campaign — by deputy leader Kelvin        received a smattering of ratings           things will add to New Zealand’s
                                                                                       Davis on 2.97 and finance                 across the spectrum — culminating in       productivity or wealth.”
MOOD OF THE BOARDROOM - Too close to call? - 2017 Chief Executives' Survey - Our experts analyse the responses - Deloitte
D9

MOOD OF THE BOARDROOM

Kingmaker or Queenmaker?
But a growing list of negatives is damaging Winston Peters’ standing with business, finds Tim McCready

N
            ew Zealand First leader Win-    leader’s ability to exert leverage under                                as that is the party most New Zea-         not have this level of influence.
            ston Peters may not be uni-     the MMP political system which makes                                    landers want to see form government,”         Some of the responses were on the
            versally admired by the         him a key player at the September 23                                    said Beca’s Greg Lowe. Others thought      nose: “Heck no,” “FFS”, and “Winston
            C-suite, but chief executives   election.                                                               NZ First should just support the largest   doesn’t have the work ethic to be Prime
rate him a shrewd politician.                   It is possible Peters will not be the                               party on confidence and supply rather      Minister even for a couple of weeks.”
    “Winston is undoubtedly in my view      sole       potential    kingmaker       or                              than trying to “blackmail policy              In this year’s Mood of the Boardroom,
a supreme politician!” said Joanna          queenmaker when coalition negotia-                                      concessions that result in much being      a majority of chief executives expected
Perry, professional director and chair-     tions begin after the votes come in. Or                                 watered down”.                             the disillusionment with traditional
woman of the IFRS Advisory Board. A         at least not with the same levels of                                       There was growing support for both      politicians would spill over and affect
legal firm boss added, “Peters plays the    bargaining power the NZ First leader                                    major parties to reject NZ First as a      the results of the upcoming election.
political game very astutely. But he is     might have had eight weeks ago, before                                  coalition partner and instead form a          Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn. Donald
the ultimate opportunist on the political   Labour began its poll climb.                                            grand coalition — between Labour and       Trump.
front.”                                         Before Labour’s leadership change,                                                                                Recent outcomes of elections and
    Peters, 72, has previously held the
roles of Deputy Prime Minister in Jim
                                            NZ First was considered the only path
                                            to power for either National or Labour.
                                                                                                                    Who should NZ First                        referendums around the globe have
                                                                                                                                                               been anything but predictable and can
Bolger’s National Government (sacked
by Jenny Shipley) and Foreign Minister
                                            But in light of the “Ardern Effect”, there
                                            is some evidence that disillusionment
                                                                                                                    form a coalition with?                     be largely attributed to disillusionment
                                                                                                                                                               and      rejection    of    immigration,

                                                                                                                    69%
in Helen Clark’s Labour Government.         with the status quo is spilling over to                                                                            globalisation, and a loss of national
    NZ First currently has 12 MPs, and      Labour, with recent polls showing they                                                                             identities.
following the election expects to have      now have more than one path to form                                                                                   But many also believe disillusion-
former Labour MP Shane Jones join the       a government.                                                           National                                   ment with the status quo can be

                                                                                                                    4%
ranks, listed comfortably at eighth on          CEO respondents identified the                                                                                 explained by the curse that comes with
the list.                                   young vote — and young females in                                                                                  ruling for three terms:
    NZ First has released some favour-      particular — as those who might be                                                                                    “We are already seeing it — sen-
able policies for business — including      drawn to vote for Labour this time,                                     Labour                                     sationalism and strong communicators
cutting corporate tax rates to 25 per       favouring a removal of a stale Govern-                                                                             are winning votes,” adds a media indus-
cent — but his negative stance on the       ment in favour of a fresh one.                                          National — as has been seen in             try CEO.
TPP, foreign investment and immi-               When asked who NZ First should                                      Germany, or for both parties to simply        “There will be some fatigue with
gration, along with his growing shop-       form a coalition with, most CEOs (69                                    go back to the polls instead of making     another National government term but
ping list of bottom lines, has damaged      per cent) opted for National. Just 4 per                                a deal with Peters. “Maybe National and    not the disillusionment with political
his reputation with business leaders.       cent said Labour. What is notable is that                               Labour should form a grand coalition       institutions that we have seen in the
    Chief executive respondents to the      a considerable number said the de-                                      to get some long-term things right,”       US and Britain,” reckoned Rob Cam-
Herald’s CEO Survey rated Peters’ poli-     cision should be up to the voter — and                                  recommended an automotive CEO.             eron, founder of Cameron Partners.
tical performance as leader at 2.76/5 on    not a case of the tail wagging the dog.                                    Both National and Labour have              “We are in a very different position
a scale where 1= not impressive and 5=          “The party who secures the largest                                  ruled out giving the prime ministership    to the US and UK,” says a professional
very impressive. But it is the NZ First     portion of the vote from the electorate                                 to Peters. Unsurprisingly, 94 per cent     director. “Our economy is strong and
                                                                                                                    of chief executives were also strongly     we have choices as long as we make
             A majority of chief executives expected the                                                            opposed to the major parties conceding     them wisely.”
                                                                                                                    the prime ministership on an interim          Others think the disillusionment
  disillusionment with traditional politicians would spill                                                          basis to achieve power.                    runs deeper. An executive in the wine
    over and affect the results of the upcoming election.                                                              Most thought the party with the
                                                                                                                    largest share of the vote should be in
                                                                                                                                                               industry: “People are sick of smug, self-
                                                                                                                                                               indulgent, middle-aged white men. At
                                                                                                                    control, and that minor parties should     least I am.”

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MOOD OF THE BOARDROOM - Too close to call? - 2017 Chief Executives' Survey - Our experts analyse the responses - Deloitte
D10                                                                                                                                           nzherald.co.nz | The New Zealand Herald | Tuesday, September 12, 2017

MOOD OF THE BOARDROOM

Give us the policy lowdown
CEOs have expressed
major scepticism over
Labour’s tax policies and
                                                       ,,               The priority is a clear
                                                                        articulation of policies and
                                                                        how they will be paid for. No
                                                                                                                              adds up. What Joyce has done is
                                                                                                                              taken effectively our leftover
                                                                                                                              cash at the end and then tried to
                                                                                                                              accumulate that out as if we're
                                                                                                                              going to spend every dollar of it
                                                                                                                              every year. I've never said that.
                                                                                                                              I've never said that our fiscal plan
lack of details, reports                                                more `we’ll leave it to a                             did that.”
                                                                                                                                 Kirk Hope of BusinessNZ
Graham Skellern                                                         working group’. Clarity needs                         wants more focus on
                                                                                                                              wealth-creation policies
                                                                        to be provided immediately

N
                                                                                                                              rather than increasing
             ew Zealand’s top chief ex-                                                                                       taxes.
             ecutives are clear. They                                   rather than `trust us, we’ll be                          In its first term, a
             want Labour’s finance                                                                                            Labour Government
             spokesman Grant Robert-                                    okay’.                                                would             cancel
son to concentrate on wealth creation                                                                                         National’s tax cuts and
policies, rely less on increasing taxes                                 Media boss                                            implement a package
and provide the detail on Labour’s                                                                                            to boost Working for
economic policies.                          spokesman in November 2014 in for-       confidently face the changing nature     Families for those
    In the 2017 Mood of the Boardroom       mer leader Andrew Little’s shadow        of work and have sustainable, fulfil-    who currently re-
Survey, chief executives were asked:        cabinet reshuffle. He has been           ling and well-paid employment in the     ceive it and extend it
What should be Grant Robertson’s            researching international economic       coming decades.                          to more families, in-
major priority as Minister of Finance?      policy and is responsible for Labour’s      Policies tackling the changing        troduce a Best Start
They replied: Give us clarity, vision       Future of Work Commission. The           nature of work would be targeted to      payment for costs in
and investment.                             commission, which engaged an exter-      ensure decent jobs, lower unemploy-      a child's early years
    It is a measure of their engagement     nal reference group, wants to develop    ment, higher wages, greater security     and introduce a Win-
with this pivotal election that 87 of       the vision, direction and policies for   in work or out of work, and highly       ter Energy Payment
118 survey respondents gave their           an economic and social programme         skilled, adaptable and resilient         for those receiving
personal view to the open-ended             that will enable New Zealanders to       workers.                                 superannuation.
question.                                                                               Business gets that. In this year’s       It would also:
    A media boss says the priority                                                   CEO survey, 63 per cent of chief            ● Restart
should be a clear articulation of poli-     Five priorities for                      executives predict their companies       contributions to the
cies and how they will be paid for.         Grant Robertson                          will change more in the next five        New Zealand Super-
“No more ‘we’ll leave it to a working       CEOs want to see:                        years than the preceding five years.     annuation Fund;
group’. Clarity needs to be provided                                                    During the campaign, most eyes           ● Begin the con-
immediately rather than ‘trust us,          ●    More policy detail and clarity on   have been on new Labour leader           struction of a light
we’ll be okay’.”                                tax changes                          Jacinda Ardern.                          rail network in
    Z Energy CEO Mike Bennetts wants        ● Concentrate on wealth creation            But the spotlight fell on Robertson   Auckland, invest
to know what contingencies Labour                                                    when his rival, National’s finance       in passenger rail
has, should income be less than pro-        ● Don’t touch corporate or personal      spokesman Steven Joyce, claimed          for Hamilton and Tauranga,
jected, and what that would mean for            tax rates                            Labour had a $11.7b hole in its fiscal   and restart commuter rail in
its spend on newly announced and            ● Invest in important infrastructure     plan.                                    Christchurch;
yet-to-be announced policies.                                                           Robertson swept into action, say-        ● Introduce a clean water
    Robertson, a former Labour              ● Balance economic growth and the        ing `”we have a fiscal plan that has
deputy leader, became finance                   environment                          been independently assessed and                     continued on D11

                                                                              THE EXPORTER’S CONFERENCE

             Mark Piper
             Fonterra
                                                Elinor Swery
                                                    IBM                       THURSDAY
                                                                              21 SEPTEMBER 2017
                                                                                                                                               Nadine Higgins
                                                                                                                                                   TVNZ
                                                                                                                                                                                   Leon Grice
                                                                                                                                                                                  NZ US Council

       Sir Graeme Harrison                  Michael Whitehead
                                                                              AUCKLAND                                                       Dr Antje Fiedler                     Kevin Parish

                                                                              EARLY BIRD PRICES
        ANZCO Foods Ltd                        WhereScape                                                                                 University of Auckland                     Primary
                                                                                                                                                                                Collaboration NZ

                                                                              AVAILABLE NOW                                                    Plus 15 more expert speakers
                                                                                                                                               you wouldn’t want to miss.
         Hon Todd McClay
         NZ Government
                                                Vic Crone
                                          Callaghan Innovation
                                                                               WWW.GOGLOBAL.NZ
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