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Rebuild New Zealand: PwC Report Calls For Broader Measures To Keep NZers Safe, To Enable Economic And Social Rebuild

New Zealand is in a unique position to rebuild the economy, generate prosperity and enhance wellbeing, according to a new report released by PwC New Zealand today that looks ahead to 2021. However this will require broader measures to keep New Zealanders safe from COVID-19.

Mark Averill, CEO and Senior Partner at PwC New Zealand says that the report sets out the case for a reset.

“Now is the time to reset our direction based on our highly successful response to COVID-19. We should view what lies ahead in 2021 not as a challenge but rather an opportunity.

“In order to support the rebuild, we’d like to see a more coordinated approach to our national COVID response, informed by international best practice and involving greater collaboration with the private sector. We’d also like to see a broader range of risk-based measures being used at the border with multiple layers of defence that will enable us to maintain our hard won successes and allow us to capitalise on our status and re-engage with the rest of the world.”

David Bridgman, Partner, says there are a range of initiatives where PwC would like to see greater collaboration between the government and private sector in 2021.

“We have a chance to make long overdue reforms of our education system to boost intellectual capital and productivity, and it is also the time to encourage capital investment, including imported capital. We’d like to see smart and suitably funded infrastructure investment by central and local government to drive growth and improve productivity.

“In addition, climate change remains a critical issue. Climate change considerations cannot be relegated in the wake of COVID-19, instead they need to be at the forefront of all decision making to ensure that New Zealand ‘builds back better’.”

The report focuses on the new Government’s agenda, and urges the Government to use their political capital and be bolder with initiatives to rebuild New Zealand’s economy and society in a way that benefits everyone. It also outlines priorities for businesses as they emerge from their immediate COVID-19 response phase, and urges them to plan for a future under a “new normal” of ongoing uncertainty by using a range of scenarios.

The report takes stock of the key events and shocks of 2020, and outlines the progress New Zealand has made against the “seven planks” that PwC proposed in June. The “seven planks” are the key areas PwC believes form an overarching strategy to emerge from the economic recession better and stronger than before. These are: employment, growth, productivity, addressing inequity, tax reform, climate change, and public/private partnering.

Bridgman adds that there is good reason to believe that New Zealand’s economy can weather 2021 in reasonable shape.

“However, we urgently need to progress longer term initiatives to boost economic growth and productivity, and lessen the burden of debt that future generations will bear as a result of the pandemic. We can seize the opportunity to rebuild our economy and our society so that there is a more prosperous and inclusive future for all New Zealanders.”

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