The Government's 2017 Budget will be delivered on Thursday 25 May, and will be centred on providing opportunities for all Kiwis to get ahead, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says.
"The 2017 Budget will build on the strengthening performance of the New Zealand economy over the last several years. It will focus on creating the conditions for further growth and greater prosperity for all New Zealanders," Mr Joyce says.
"New Zealand businesses have generated 328,000 new jobs since 2008, and average weekly wages have grown by 26.1 per cent – more than double the rate of inflation. Budget 2017 will seek to give businesses the confidence to keep investing and keep growing, to provide more opportunities for New Zealand families.”
A key element of the Budget will involve investing in the public services and building the infrastructure for a growing New Zealand.
"As the economy grows, we have a little more headroom to invest in better public services. However, as always, our focus will be on achieving better results, and not just tipping in more taxpayers money," Mr Joyce says.
“It is also very important to remain mindful that the money the Government spends comes from hard working Kiwi families. We remain committed to reducing the tax burden on lower and middle income earners when we have the room to do so.”
Mr Joyce says the Budget will continue a relentless focus on reducing debt as a percentage of GDP.
"A key part of building a resilient economy is creating the necessary buffers to deal with the next economic shock. The Government remains committed to its target of reducing net debt to 20 per cent of GDP by 2020/21," Mr Joyce says.
Cadpro's Matthew Weakes commenting on the news that Carl Bass has resigned as CEO of Autodesk:"Carl has been fantastic as a leader leaving Autodesk in a very good position in each of the markets it operates in. With a very hands on practical and pragmatic approach he has overseen the creation of such outstanding facilities as Pier 9.
As a ‘maker’ he really understands the issues manufacturers face, he even directly helped us with getting a post processor working for machine he has at home that one of our customers also had!
He will be missed."
Matthew Weake BE(Mech)(Hons)Mechanical & Manufacturing Sales
On Monday, Carl Bass, the CEO of $18 billion Autodesk, gave an interview with Pando Daily’s Sarah Lacy where he described President Donald Trump as “actingsomewhere between a dictator and a small business owner.”
On Tuesday, Bass announced that he’s stepping down as Autodesk CEO, effective immediately.
He’ll stay on the Autodesk board and assist with the search for a new chief executive, with senior executives Amar Hanspal and Andrew Anagnost holding down the fort as interim co-CEOs.
Autodesk is best known as the company behind AutoCAD, the ubiquitous design software for the worlds of architecture, manufacture, and construction.
In a blog entry, Bass says he’s been discussing the possibility of this move “for the last couple of years.” Still, the timing of his departure is interesting, given the explicit nature of his criticisms of Trump.
“I’ve known Bass for a while, and I am used to his outspoken nature. But even I couldn’t’t believe he said some of this on the record,” Lacy wrote in preface to her interview that was published on Monday.
Tech companies like Google and Netflix have spoken out against Trump’s policies, particularly the recent order temporarily suspending immigration from predominantly muslim countries. But those comments have focused on Trump’s policies, whereas Bass’s comments were aimed directly at the President’s character.
“We are talking about a guy who likes belittling people. He really is a bully. Look, everyone I talk to, the tech guys, who went to that first meeting, well, you saw what they looked like. They didn’t want to be there,” Bass told Lacy.
It’s possible that Bass felt more free to express his opinion knowing that he was about to step down from the CEO job.
The exchange rate hit a two year high on the Trade Weighted Index (TWI) last week. Our consistently overvalued exchange rate continues to be an issue for the competitiveness of manufacturers and the wider tradable sector, and we need to investigate ways to bring it back to a sustainable level over time, say the New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association (NZMEA).
NZMEA Chief Executive Dieter Adam says, “The exchange rate hit a two year high on the TWI last week, and while it has dropped back less than a cent since, it remains at a level that damages the competitiveness of our manufacturers and tradable sector.
“This is not a new issue – our exchange rate has been consistently overvalued over the last decade, the average of which has been over 10 percent higher than the previous two decades in TWI terms. This does not, however, mean we should accept the current level as inevitable. We need to see some fresh thinking on how to create conditions that can give our economy a more sustainable exchange rate over time, from both the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) and Government.
“A competitive and fairly valued exchange rate is a key component of ensuring our productive manufacturing and exporting sectors can grow over time, bringing quality jobs and much needed export income. The failure to make ground on the Government's target of improving exports to 40% of GDP has no doubt been hampered by the consistent overvaluation.
“In terms of the RBNZ’s OCR decision tomorrow, we believe holding the current rate is the right move. While we are starting to see signs of an inflation uptick, moving rates up prematurely, as we saw in 2014, would add additional pressure onto our exchange rate.
The exchange rate is currently around 4% above what the RBNZ forecast for the upcoming March quarter.” Says Dieter.
Reckitt Benckiser (New Zealand) Limited (RBNZ) has been fined $1.08 million today in the Auckland District Court for 10 charges relating to its Nurofen specific pain range products. The products include Nurofen Migraine Pain, Nurofen Tension Headache, Nurofen Period Pain and Nurofen Back Pain.
RBNZ admitted that between 2011 and 2015 its packaging of the products and representations on the nurofen.co.nz website were liable to mislead consumers about the nature, characteristics and suitability of the products.
The product packaging stated that the products “targeted” a particular type of pain, when this was not the case. Each product contained exactly the same active ingredient, 342 mg ibuprofen lysine, and each worked identically to the other products. The website contained a number of statements and a product comparison page which gave the overall impression that RBNZ had created separately formulated products to target and relieve specific types of pain when that was not the case.
Commerce Commission Chairman Dr Mark Berry said, “The packaging of these products and the website gave consumers the impression that the products were targeted to relieve a specific kind of pain. In fact, the products all contained the same ingredients and worked identically, to alleviate inflammation and pain generally, but were not specifically formulated to treat a particular area of pain. Consumers paid significantly more for these products compared to other ibuprofen products that would have had a similar effect.
“RBNZ was made aware in 2011 and 2013 through a media article and a complaint to the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration that the products were potentially misleading, yet continued to market and sell the products.”
“The Commission will continue to take cases where traders do not promote their products truthfully. Products need to be as described on the box, and these were not. We take a particularly dim view when goods for human consumption are misdescribed; especially where pharmaceutical or healthcare products are not promoted truthfully. With these types of products consumers have little opportunity to verify the claims being made and tend to rely heavily on what they are told by the trader. To be able to choose the product best suited for them, consumers must have accurate and reliable information,” said Dr Berry.
In sentencing RBNZ today, Judge Jelas described RBNZ’s behaviour as “highly misleading” and noted it was “blatantly apparent they were in breach of their lawful obligations to New Zealand consumers”.
“Without the misleading statements the reason for the products existence disappears. There was no reason to choose one over the other.”
Judge Jelas accepted that RBNZ had expressed its remorse for its conduct, but only after the Commission opened its investigation, having ignored previous warnings and publicity in the media.
Half of the conduct charged occurred before the 2014 changes to the Fair Trading Act which increased the maximum corporate penalty for breaching the Act from $200,000 to $600,000.
| A Commerce Commission release | February 3, 2017 ||
Finance Minister Steven Joyce will appoint current Deputy Reserve Bank Governor Grant Spencer as the Acting Governor of the Bank for six months, following the expiry of current Governor Graeme Wheeler’s term on September 26 this year.
"Mr Wheeler's term as Governor expires on September 26, three days after the general election, and he has decided not to seek reappointment," Mr Joyce says. "Following advice from the Cabinet Office and consultation with Cabinet, I have decided that the most appropriate course of action would be to appoint an acting Governor for a six month period to cover the post-election caretaker period. This will give the next Government time to make a decision on the appointment of a permanent Governor for the next five year term.
"I have decided to appoint Mr Spencer as acting Governor from 27 September 2017 to 26 March 2018, on the advice of the Reserve Bank Board of Directors. The Government is pleased to have someone of his calibre to move into the role. He is a highly experienced member of the Bank’s Leadership team who will provide stability and continuity through this caretaker period prior to the appointment of the new Governor."
Mr Joyce and Mr Spencer have agreed that there will be no change to the Policy Targets Agreement for the period Mr Spencer will be acting Governor.
Mr Spencer has advised the Government that he won't be applying for the permanent role, and intends to retire following his period as acting Governor.
The Bank has had one previous acting Governor. Former Deputy Governor Rod Carr was appointed in an acting capacity for the pre-election and caretaker period around the 2002 General election, following the resignation of Governor Brash.
Mr Joyce thanked Governor Wheeler for his service to the Bank.
"The Governor has performed his role calmly and expertly during a highly unusual period for the world economy. I thank him for his service up until now and for the remainder of his term as Governor," Mr Joyce says.
Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith has today announced the reappointment of Claire Robinson, Brett Hewlett, and Suse Reynolds to the Callaghan Innovation Stakeholder Advisory Group.
“The reappointment of Ms Robinson, Mr Hewlett, and Ms Reynolds recognises the valuable skills and insights they all contribute to the advisory group, as well as their work to ensure that Callaghan is connected and engaged with its stakeholders,” says Mr Goldsmith.
Callaghan Innovation is the government agency tasked with growing New Zealand’s economy by helping business succeed through technology.
The seven-member Stakeholder Advisory Group provides independent, expert advice to the Callaghan Innovation Board. It includes some of the most well-respected people involved in New Zealand innovation.
Professor Robinson, Mr Hewlett and Ms Reynolds have been reappointed for further two-year terms.
Ms Reynolds, founder and Board member of Angel HQ, has also been appointed as the chair of the Advisory Group.
“Suse’s extensive networks and in-depth experience with New Zealand’s angel investment community stand her in strong stead to lead the Advisory Group, and I welcome her appointment as Chair,” Mr Goldsmith says.
More information about the Advisory Group can be found on Callaghan Innovation’s website.
A new online tool will make it easy for businesses and decision makers to access a rich set of data on the performance New Zealand’s industrial sectors, Minister for Economic Development Simon Bridges says.
Launched today, the New Zealand Sectors Dashboard provides the latest available data on twenty-six different sectors covering the whole economy, from the primary industries, manufacturing and services sectors to government, education and health.
‘The New Zealand economy is diverse and dynamic. Strong GDP and job growth, together with the impact of technology, is driving change in every sector. This tool draws on 53 datasets from Statistics New Zealand and other sources,” Mr Bridges says.
Data includes GDP, productivity and job growth rates by sector, as well as median incomes, capital investment, innovation and research and development rates and much more.
“The dashboard is a comprehensive, easy-to-use interactive resource that unlocks a huge range of data for businesses, entrepreneurs and analysts enabling them to keep track of sector trends and visualise opportunities for new investment and job creation,” Mr Bridges says.
Information is presented using dynamic graphs and data tables so users can easily look at trends in sector performance, with comparisons to the New Zealand average or with other sectors.
The Sectors Dashboard complements the Tourism Dashboard and the Regional Economic Activity Tools.
Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler today announced that he will not be seeking a second term as Governor when his current term ends on 26 September this year.
Mr Wheeler said: “It has been a great privilege to serve in this role, and in the remaining eight months I will remain fully focused on the economic challenges and opportunities facing the New Zealand economy. It was my intention, when I was appointed, to serve one term, and then to take on governance roles.”
Mr Wheeler was previously employed at the World Bank from 1997 until 2010, where he was Managing Director Operations (2006-2010), and Vice-President and Treasurer (2001-2006). From 2010 to 2012, he ran his own advisory business in the United States.
Under section 40 of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act, the Governor is appointed for a five-year term by the Minister of Finance, on the recommendation of the Reserve Bank Board.
The Chair of the Reserve Bank Board, Professor Neil Quigley, said the Government has advised the Board that, because of the proximity of the General Election this year, the Board’s recruitment process to identify a successor to Mr Wheeler needs to commence later in the year, and an acting Governor would be appointed to cover the post-election caretaker period.
The Minister of Finance, Steven Joyce, has, on the Board’s recommendation, announced the appointment of Grant Spencer under section 48 of the Reserve Bank Act to act as Governor for a period of six months on the conclusion of Mr Wheeler’s term. Mr Spencer had indicated his intention to retire this year but has agreed to defer in order to fill the acting role.
Mr Spencer is Deputy Governor and Head of Financial Stability, a position he has held since 2007. He serves as chair of the OECD's Committee on Financial Markets, and has held senior management positions at the Bank in economics and financial markets.
In 1995-2004, Mr Spencer was with the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, holding senior management roles in treasury and strategy in New Zealand and Australia. He has also served terms with the International Monetary Fund as a Special Advisor, European Department, and as New Zealand’s Alternate Executive Director.
A review of the government's flagship agency for commercialising innovation has found Callaghan Innovation has "weak" management, and is "struggling internally" to complete a strategy guiding how it offers services to companies with high-value, high-tech commercial ideas.
Three and a half years after its creation from the Crown Research Institute, IRL, Callaghan appears to be "caught mid-stream between two very different operating models", the Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) review by former public sector leader Paula Rebstock says. Compared to the needs of an organisation intended to bridge the gap between its mission as a "customer-driven, integrator" of commercialisation assistance to high value manufacturing and services (HVMS), its "earlier hierarchical leadership models managing the production and delivery of products and services are no longer suitable to deliver Callaghan Innovation's vision, mission and strategy."
"A number of external critical friends questioned whether Callaghan Innovation had grasped the implications of its customer-driven, integrator role for the way it leads and the people it recruits."
The PIF report was published in December, five months after the resignation of the agency's inaugural chief executive, Mary Quin, an expatriate New Zealander lured home after a high-flying career in high-tech product development, corporate management and experience with businesses creating opportunities for indigenous people in Alaska. A replacement CEO is still being sought.
Callaghan's Maori enterprise unit was singled out for praise, with the review finding innovative Maori businesses increasingly turning to the organisation.
However, it had still to complete a strategy identified in an internal review in 2015 to guide its change in focus.
"Callaghan Innovation will not be able to operate below the highest level of business planning until its strategy is complete," the review says. "The role of integrator in the innovation system is widely seen as critical to New Zealand's success. However, Callaghan Innovation is seen as only partially meeting its mission."
It was only able to assist firms in the "very early stage phase", leading the PIF review to question "whether its workforce has the required depth and breadth of experience and whether its current model sufficiently addresses its full potential client base across the likely trajectory path from start-up to IPO (public capital-raising)."
The report suggests at several points that greater integration with elements of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise's operations would be worth considering.
However, the report also finds an organisation aware of the challenges it faces and likely to benefit from work it's undertaking with the Productivity Commission and the economic consultancy MOTU "on how to measure the impact of interventions such as grants on innovation and R&D".
Settling on its "intervention logic and impact measures" is a critical need.
"Having been formed from a partial start-up and a partial merger, it is not surprising that the formative period has been focused on institution-building. Looking forward ... its current performance challenge is to accelerate its pace of execution, delivering on its full mission and demonstrating impact" in New Zealand's "busy and complex" innovation eco-system, which firms habitually found "hard to navigate".
"External stakeholders and partners do not see Callaghan Innovation consistently, strongly and visibly leading the innovation eco-system."
BusinessDesk receives assistance from Callaghan Innovation to cover the commercialisation of innovation.