Iron Duke

Global business leader Phil O'Reilly on the economic impact the lockdown is having on NZ businesses

coronavirus 08/04/2020

Following his talk with the COVD-19 Epidemic Response Committee earlier today, former Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O'Reilly spoke to Sean Plunket today to further discuss the economic impact the lockdown will have on New Zealand businesses.

Listen to the full interview below.

“They need to do more,” O’Reilly says, on the government. “As we come out of this, if you unleash businesses, they will grow.”

Some small businesses will be damaged fatally, O'Reilly explains, but they “want them to come back to work energized.”

He hopes the government will say to small businesses, ‘we are behind you, we back you.’

The Government needs to step up to the plate.

“We need to focus on both,” O’Reilly explains when asked whether we should focus on New Zealand only companies.

What you want is people wanting to hire people.

The Tourism sector might not be the same for 5-10 years, and O’Reilly says “innovation will get us some of the way there”, and that “much of the world will remain after this.”

“One big international trend is Nationalism, and it will be bad for New Zealand if we go down that track,” O’Reilly affirms.

The economy will emerge smaller than it is, but it will be more competitive

Sean asks whether the government should give young people the skills to contribute to New Zealand, to which O’Reilly responds “let's make it free and subsidise wages of kiwis if they are at risk.”

He says to get those kids a job and skills now, while we have to, although the pressure on the government balance sheet will be massive.

One of his key questions is ‘how do we bounce back as fast as we can?’

What's next will be such an important conversation to have

About Phil O'Reilly (ONZM):

Phil is the Managing Director of Iron Duke Partners. He is a global business leader and advocate. He is Chair of the Board of Business at OECD, (a representation of businesses in OECD member states), based in Paris. Phil is involved in the work of the B20 - advising G20 leaders. He is formally a member of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). He has acted in a governance or advisory capacity to a number of New Zealand and overseas organisations in areas as diverse as trade, sustainability, diversity, pay equity, manufacturing, tertiary education, child poverty and the future of work. Until recently, Phil was a member of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) based in Geneva. Previously he was Chief Executive of BusinessNZ, New Zealand’s leading business advocacy group, representing thousands of businesses of all sizes.