16th February 2018

The treasury has recently released a statement announcing that the second half of 2017 has seen New Zealand’s government gain $600 million more tax dollars than expected. Core Crown tax revenue was $597 million ahead of expectations and amounted to $37.2 billion during this six month period.

"At this point in the year these results indicate the economy is tracking well. The Government is committed to seeing this continue and ensuring that we have sustainable growth and a fair share in prosperity for all New Zealanders," said Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

"We've seen consumer confidence improve over the past month, while businesses' confidence in their own activity has also been positive."

While government infrastructure changes, labour constraints and lower dairy prices are expected to cause economic growth to slow later this year, right now the economy is not one of New Zealand’s biggest concerns, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks report for 2018.

Global concerns vs. New Zealand concerns
The World Economic Forum’s Global Risk reveals some interesting findings about the concerns of New Zealanders and people around the globe. The report is created in partnership with the Marsh and McLennan Companies (MMC) Risk Center, which polls 1000 business leaders from the global network of the World Economic Forum.

According to the report, the biggest perceived global risks of the moment are extreme weather, climate change, natural disaster, cyber attacks and data theft. How do these concerns differ from a New Zealand perspective?

New Zealand local respondents noted that the five biggest risks are now major cyber attacks, natural catastrophe, extreme weather, urban planning and asset bubbles. Considering New Zealand’s geographic situation, these concerns make sense and also are in line with larger global trends.

Economic concerns are noticeably absent from both the global and local respondents. This is a significant shift away from anxieties over the economy, which dominated concerns when the report first came into existence 13 years ago. 

"When we started the report there was a focus on economic risk, around the GFC," said Wolfram Hedrich, MMC executive director at the Asia Pacific Risk Center. "Then it became a lot more varied. Geo-political risk, technological risk - like cyber - and societal risks have come more to the fore."

This difference in concerns should not be surprising. When the report first started, the global financial crisis loomed heavy on minds of people across the world and in New Zealand. With the economy running smoothly, environmental concerns are now more dominant.

Hendrich noted that most risks, outside of a disaster such as nuclear war, presented opportunities for business, which could further help strengthen the New Zealand economy.

"Shifting consumer preference means new products and new services can be offered,” said Hendrich.

How people and business owners respond to risk is key. "The need for business is to become more agile, in the decision making and risk management. At the same time we need to see a shift from protection to recovery or response, to be more agile when things happen."