Mixed Mood of the Boardroom but “too many committees”

Not surprisingly there are mixed responses on NZ Herald’s annual ‘Mood of the Boardroom’ survey. a majority thing that the Government  has worked to their expectations (that is not necessarily positive), and NZ First have been a moderating influence on union moves.

  • 59% said the Coalition had worked to their expectations
  • 23% said worse than expected
  • 15% said better than expected

The significance of that depends on what expectations where.

NZH Mood of the Boardroom: 150 CEOs deliver their verdict on the Government

Unsurprisingly, the survey of 150 chief executives confirmed business confidence one year into the Coalition Government is wobbly, and in some policy areas, struggling to stay on its feet, but there were contradictions aplenty in their responses.

While some expected the influence of NZ First and Winston Peters to be problematic, others saw NZ First as a potentially moderating influence when it came to acknowledging the harmful impact on business confidence from union-led law reforms.

It is like that a Labour-Green only government would have been much more compliant to union demands.

But generally, CEOs were united in citing the Coalition’s lack of experience, “too many committees and not enough action” and unclear agenda.

A challenge for Ardern is to be much clearer on specifics of her Government’s agenda rather than making grand but vague proclamations.

The survey confirmed one overarching contradiction: the economy is showing the highest level of quarterly growth seen in the past two years but business confidence is sinking.

The chief concern of CEOs was uncertainty – “general uncertainty about the impact and direction of current Government policies”.

The rest of the top five ranking factors also pointed to uncertainty: skills and labour shortages, regulation, employment law changes and transport infrastructure.

The uncertainty is fixable, but it could take some time for all the working groups and inquiries and committees to report back, and more time still for the Government to then decide what to do in response. This may take some negotiating between Labour, NZ First and the Greens.

For CEOs the single biggest factor that would assist their business remain internationally competitive from New Zealand, at 23.5 per cent, was Government/council policy.

Skills and talent was next at 22.6 per cent and specific Government/council policy third at 14.8 per cent.

That said, the Coalition’s “oil and gas ban” provoked a strong response from chief executives, with some 77 per cent of respondents agreeing the Government should have waited until the Productivity Commission set its path to a low emissions future and taken that advice on board first.

The Government rushed some decisions to give the appearance they were on the ball, and have since had to adjust their approach.

Recognised was the Coalition’s “pragmatic” response to international trade, where it had surprised by devising an early fix and signing up to the new CPTPP.

That was a good surprise for business interests, and complained about bitterly by trade and globalisation opponents on the far left.

If the Government learns from it’s mistakes and gets their act together in making decisions and progress then the boardrooms and business sector may improve their outlook, but the longer key decisions take the more chance that festering uncertainty can become a real problem for the economy.



Leave a comment


  1. David

     /  3rd October 2018

    They were scathing of Eugenie Sage and having experienced her at Environment Canterbury its no surprise, she is intransigent and always right..in her own mind. She has no interpersonal skills or ability to change her mind when prevented with facts she literally had to be moved. She makes me shudder.

  2. David

     /  3rd October 2018

    As well as Sage needing to be re shuffled Ardern has a problem that re-assigning Ian Lees-Galloway would solve, he shouldnt be where he is given the importance of employment legislation to business confidence that Robertson and Ardern have been working so hard to lift.

  3. robertguyton

     /  3rd October 2018

    The Government’s oil & gas decision was an excellent one, as I described in my submission sent yesterday. Eugenie Sage was at the pointy end of the National Party’s anti-democratic, dictatorial take-over of Environment Canterbury and knew the sordid details of what went down there. She’s tough and blunt, though quite a sweet with it 🙂 Her recent programme to prepare for the tahr cull has been entirely successful. Eugenie is a true Green with a focus on environmental matters, something posters here decry other Green MPs for not being. This Government’s doing very well indeed. The ridiculous “business lack-of-confidence” nonsense has proved to be nothing more than contrived moaning and the mood described in this post has something of that to it also. New Zealand will grow up, but hacienda’s having to be very patient while it does.

  4. robertguyton

     /  3rd October 2018

    hacienda/Jacinda – is your blog programmed to have fun with spelling, Poto?

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  3rd October 2018

      Dear Rubber,

      Spellcheck can be removed, Turbot. Er, Rowboat.

      I wish that I could remove it from OneDrive, as it tries to correct (?) words into rididculous substitutes. It also wants to put commas after ‘so’ at the beginning of a sentence,.

      ‘So do I.’ = ‘So, do I.’

      Thank goodness it doesn’t do it automatically.

      Yours turtle
      Knitted Basket

      • robertguyton

         /  3rd October 2018

        “Knitted Basket”
        That’s a keeper! Sounds like one of the old apple varieties – Knotted Bastard. Actually, there isn’t an apple called Knotted Bastard, but there is a Nonetit Bastard 🙂

        • Gezza

           /  3rd October 2018

          Crikey. A gender-fluid apple ? o_O

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  3rd October 2018

          Rasps are called Fat Bastards for a reason that I can’t begin to guess.

          There was a famous poet called Thomas Bastard; one never hears of anyone now being called that. Or Barebones as in ‘Praise-God Barebones’ of the Barebones Parliament.

          There was someone called Kill-Sin Pimple; another name never heard now.

          I’ll see what OneDrive makes of Kitty Catkin.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  3rd October 2018

          kittycat in was the best/worst that OneDrone can do .

  5. Blazer

     /  3rd October 2018

    why are the opinions of business executives…so important?

    • David

       /  3rd October 2018

      Important as far as business goes and its commentary about business. I prefer Lizzie Marvelly,s take on everything and get my steer on the world from her.

    • Gerrit

       /  3rd October 2018

      They represent those who have invested into the trade able markets. Stop that investment or take that investment overseas, the trade able market is restricted in its ability to earn profits and pay taxes.

      • Blazer

         /  3rd October 2018

        but it has been stagnant for years under National…
        the FIRE sector ,non tradeable inflated GDP.

    • PartisanZ

       /  4th October 2018

      @Blazer – “Why are the opinions of business executives … so important?”

      Ummm … They’re accustomed to owning the government … and they either own or command the attention of the media.

      They paid a lot of money to the National Party so they could dictate government policy in their favour but were foiled and now have to work with a government more representative of the diversity in our population …

      Despite that, this ‘survey’ of highly scientifically objective metrics clearly shows things ain’t all that bad … which probably means this government has largely buckled to their will …?


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