Sixty-nine chief executives responded to an open-ended question as to what they would like to see on the Labour Shadow Finance Minister’s policy agenda.
“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 per cent singling out job losses through technology, it is clear Robertson’s Future of Work initiative falls on fertile ground.
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.