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Bill Bennett


Mood of the Boardroom: Grant Robertson’s Future of Work

Sixty-nine chief executives responded to an open-ended question as to what they would like to see from the Labour Shadow Finance Minister Grant Robertson in terms of policy.

“Continue to constrain public expenditure to core and effective services,” advised Unitec CRO Rick Ede. “Reset taxation and investment incentives to favour productive investment instead of property investment.

“Continue the investment approach to welfare services begun by Bill English.”

Many, but not all, of the themes on Robertson’s own priority list resonate with the boardroom. With 67 per cent per cent of CEOs predicting technological advances will be the single factor with the biggest impact on business in the next five years and a further 7 percent singling out job losses through technology, it is clear Robertson’s Future of Work initiative falls on fertile ground.

Read the full story by Bill Bennett in the New Zealand Herald.

Robertson’s four priorities:

• Find ways for industry to add value and diversify the economy: lift productivity and add value to primary industry and invest more in R&D.

• Focus on regional development and lift wages outside the main centres. Auckland’s infrastructure and housing is under pressure. Housing costs less in the regions but there are not enough good jobs.

• Future of Work project to address the challenge of technology-led change head-on.

• Share the rewards from prosperity: many people work hard and yet they don’t earn enough to buy a house.

“When I attend a business dinner, the conversation often turns to inequality. Many business leaders are concerned about this. They realise it can mean both a loss of potential and it can become a drain on the economy. Even organisations like the OECD, which is hardly a left-wing body, recognises that inequality inhibits growth,” says Robertson.



2 thoughts on “Mood of the Boardroom: Grant Robertson’s Future of Work

  1. There is no good evidence that inequality reduces growth. Two of the most unequal societies (Hong Kong and Singapore) have booming economies and Greece and Spain have relatively low Gini coefficients and are economic basket cases.

    In addition, Robertson clearly proposes to tackle inequality by wealth redistribution (Tax the rich and subsidize the poor). This DEFINITELY reduces growth as it reduces the capital available to fund it. This is basic economics which is something Mr Robertson, the opposition finance spokesman, should understand.

    1. The relationship between inequality and growth or the lack of it is complex.

      Germany’s Gini index is lower than all the countries mentioned here and has been for ages. For much of recent history it’s growth has been strong. You can say the same about the Nordic countries.

      As Robertson says, the OECD notes a link between greater equality and growth: http://www.oecd.org/forum/oecdyearbook/growth-and-inequality-close-relationship.htm.

      It’s also difficult making comparisons with Hong Kong and Singapore, which are city states.

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