Well-positioned to lead NZ to ‘Number One for Goodness’
Speaking to an audience of 500 business leaders in Auckland this morning, KPMG CEO, Godfrey Boyce shared that an in-depth KPMG study of 2,000 CEOs worldwide shows that New Zealand CEOs are positioned ahead of their peers when it comes to mind-set, trust and adaptability – attributes needed to seize opportunity.
“It’s time to move the conversation with CEOs away from the negative connotations that go with today’s buzzwords of ‘uncertainty’ and ‘disruption’. As kiwis, seizing opportunity is in our DNA. As individuals, we need to embrace personal growth, change and adaptation,” said Boyce.
“It’s about fostering a growth mind-set and building an ecosystem of trust – both with consumers and within your own organisation.”
Kiwi business leaders have a much higher focus on building trust and doing the right thing by the consumer than do CEOs of other nations. “One hundred percent of New Zealand CEOs surveyed felt a growing responsibility to represent the best interests of their consumers, compared to only 70 percent of CEOs in the rest of the world.”
Boyce said growth is dependent on staying relevant to existing customers, becoming relevant to new customers and being adaptable and flexible in a changing world. Key to this is attracting and retaining people with flexible mind-sets; the ability to change should be a core competency of today’s team members.
“If we focus on positioning our organisations to seize opportunities, we’ll increase the value we offer to consumers, not just for our own ends, but for the bigger purpose of increasing our nation’s prosperity.”
The KPMG Executive Business Briefing Breakfast event, at which Prime Minister Bill English was the keynote speaker, brought together executives from a range of industries.
KPMG Partner Kim Jarrett suggested that New Zealand should aspire to rank ‘Number One for Goodness’. Becoming world-renowned for ‘Goodness’ would mean addressing social inequality, improving living standards and the environment to become the best place in the world to live. “Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy better living standards and NZ business leaders have a pivotal part to play in this,” said Jarrett.
While NZ is ranked 7th out of 38 nations in the OECD Better Life Index, which looks at a range of topics essential to quality of life, New Zealand incomes and wealth are below the OECD average.
There is room to grow our GDP per capita too, from NZ’s current 22nd place in the world. Jarrett contrasted NZ’s position with that of our closest neighbour – “Australia’s GDP per capita is 42% higher than ours. If our GDP per capita were on a par with theirs today, that would mean a further $14 billion tax revenue in Government coffers. What could we do with $14 billion? We could further investment in education, infrastructure, healthcare, the environment, improve the overall wellbeing of our communities and families, improving prosperity for all.”
“In a business context, think about what ‘Goodness’ would mean for the NZ Inc. brand, for trust in your products and for the wellbeing of your employees and stakeholders. Being ‘Number One for Goodness’ would be great for business,” said Jarrett.
“However, we won’t close the income gap with other OECD nations, and reduce inequality in our society, without increasing the value of our trade.”
Jarrett said that NZ organisations are uniquely positioned to move up the value chain by placing consumers at the centre of the definition of value. This was because NZ products across a range of sectors are increasingly in the ‘sweet spot’ of what the world’s growing population of middle income earners desire. And a cornerstone of this is trust.
KPMG Tax Partner, Bruce Bernacchi, said NZ corporates could build trust with consumers through tax transparency, compliance and governance.
The Australian Taxation Office has recently introduced comprehensive requirements around tax frameworks, controls and processes for Australian corporates – it’s only a matter of time before Inland Revenue introduces similar expectations for NZ corporates, said Bernacchi.
“Through stories circulating in the media last year, corporates and multi-nationals have unfairly gained a poor reputation when it comes to their tax contribution. It’s up to corporate NZ to dispel those myths by telling its story about what good taxpayers and corporate citizens most corporates actually are.”
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