Media headlines


Can the rising tide of a 'taniwha' economy lift the boats of all Māori?

The Spinoff, 25 January 2022

The Māori economy is creating intergenerational wealth worth an estimated $70bn. Since 2012, Māori-owned assets have increased in value by 10% each year – much faster than the wider Aotearoa New Zealand economy.

However, Professor of Management and Leadership Chellie Spiller, from Waikato Management School (WMS), says benefits from the Māori economy aren’t immediately helping to allevite existing disparities among Māori, who are nearly twice as likely to be unemployed as non-Māori, and twice as likely to receive income support.

“The idea that a rising tide lifts all boats doesn’t necessarily hold true,” Professor Spiller says. A report she has co-authored with Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, “Te niho o te taniwha”, maps out pathways open to Māori that could help them thrive.

Associate Professor Jason Mika, an expert in Māori business and indigenous entrepreneurship at WMS, says, "Māori aspire for mana motuhake, but the Crown must still enable Māori to “have that potential to be economically self-sufficient within themselves.”

What can we learn from countries already using open banking?

The Conversation, Radio New Zealand, 30 December 2022

Dr Abhishek Mukherjee* and Associate Professor Paresha Sinha, both from Waikato Management School, co-authored an article about ‘open banking’, set to arrive in New Zealand by 2024.

Open banking is where a traditional bank makes client and transaction data available to another third-party financial service provider, who then uses the information to find the best deal for customers.

“Implementing open banking in New Zealand should result in a shift of power from traditional banks towards a vigorous financial technology sector,” they said. “It should also create opportunity for traditional banks to innovate and become much more responsive to customer needs. If we get it right, open banking will ultimately mean New Zealanders are better served by their financial system.”

Welcome to the hyper-ageing nation that is New Zealand

Stuff,  20 November 2022

New Zealand’s towns and cities are becoming ‘hyper-aged’, according to population projections, which will have far-reaching consequences for our society and economy.

Hyper-aged is a technical description for any population where the proportion of people aged-65+ is more than 20%. By 2048, only three territorial authorities in New Zealand will not be hyper-aged.

Associate Professor of Economics Michael Cameron says there is little a community can do to prevent natural decline. It can try to attract new migrants, but that is also a challenge.

Communities facing structural ageing would need to make sure they have the right mix of social and built infrastructure for a future, older population. “One key point, that is only just beginning to be recognised, is that striving for population growth everywhere and at all times may not be the best approach,” Dr Cameron says.

Strategic Moooves

Waikato Business News,  11 November 2022

Four finalist teams of students presented their business strategies for Fonterra in the iconic 50th Waikato Management School Case Competition, held on 19 October. The panel of judges included Fonterra's Chief Financial Officer Marc Rivers.

“Case Comp is a place where students have to bring together all of the different skills they learn at business school,” says WMS Pro Vice-Chancellor Matt Bolger.

“It combines marketing, accounting, finance, and strategy – and they have to do it in a team dynamic, on a real business. To do that with New Zealand’s largest company is an amazing opportunity for students to connect with real-world experiences that supercharge their careers.”

Fonterra CFO Marc Rivers says the benefit of being on the judging panel is that you get to hear ideas from different angles.

“Fonterra is not a simple case study, it’s quite complex, so it was really cool to hear some out-of-the-box thinking.”

Fighting inflation doesn't directly cause unemployment - but it's the most likely outcome

Radio New Zealand, The Conversation, and Wairarapa Times Age,  7 November 2022

Associate Professor of Economics Michael Cameron says the idea that when inflation goes down, unemployment goes up, and vice-versa, dates back to work in the 1950s by New Zealand's most celebrated economist, Bill Phillips.

However, Dr Cameron says lower inflation does not by itself cause higher unemployment, even though they are related.

"If the Reserve Bank raises the official cash rate, commercial banks follow by raising their interest rates. That makes borrowing more expensive. Higher interest rates mean banks will lend less money. With less money chasing goods and services in the economy, inflation will start to fall."

"At the same time, higher interest rates increase mortgage payments, leaving households and consumers with less discretionary income, and so consumer spending falls. Along with reduced business spending, this reduces the amount of economic activity. Businesses therefore need fewer workers, and so employment falls."

"So, while the Reserve Bank raises interest rates to combat inflation, those higher interest rates also slow down the economy and increase unemployment. Higher unemployment is essentially collateral damage arising from reducing inflation."

Door to a better professional life

NZ Herald, 7 November 2022

Waikato Master of Business Administration graduate Nathan Capper decided to enrol in the programme in 2020 after hitting a glass ceiling in his career as a middle manager.

"I'd always had a desire to work in business," he says. "I remember asking my wife if she would support me if I did a business degree. She said, wholeheartedly, yes ... I had no clue how powerful this [masters degree] would be. It led me on an incredibly personal journey. It taught me I was a leader, and that I was good enough."

"We are being exposed to the fastest technological changes in history, the world is in economic turmoil, the environment is in crisis," he says. "To navigate these challenges, we need diversity of thought, collaboration, and a commitment to listening to each other and working together. That's what the Waikato MBA teaches you."

Since completing his MBA, Capper has gone on to become Kaitohutohu Matua Māori (Senior Advisor) at WSP NZ, a global environmental and engineering consulting company.

Uncertainty thwarts emissions push, 28 October 2022 and Northern Advocate, 3 November 2022, The Westport News

In this op-ed, Dr Zack Dorner argues that public uncertainty over how the price of greenhouse gases will be set is undermining the government's proposed agricultural emissions pricing scheme.

Under the proposed plan, farmers will be charged for every kilogram of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) they emit. They will also be given incentives to enact GHG-reducing practices on their farms. The government has set a target for methane emissions of 10% below 2017 levels by 2030.

This is a good policy because the "stick" funds the "carrot", says Dr Dorner. But it’s hard to know what the price needs to be to achieve the target. "But if we assume a price that will give us credible emission reductions, industry-led modelling predicts an average cost of 0% to 7.2% of farm profits."

Dr Dorner hopes the Climate Change Commission will be given responsibility for setting the price based on clear criteria - rather than government ministers making that decision - to provide much greater certainty for farmers.

Ruapehu ski field crisis a climate change 'wake-up call'

Stuff,  13 October 2022

Professor Eva Collins, who specialises in sustainability, says she was not surprised by the news that skifield operator Ruapehu Alpine Lifts had been put into voluntary administration, following lack of snow and a few tough trading seasons.

“Covid has compounded the climate change,” she said. “They weren't going to get out of the climate change risk, but it probably put the climate change risk on steroids to add Covid to it.”

Professor Collins said increasing demands for climate risk disclosure from companies would help drive behaviour. However while many New Zealand businesses had started, they were not where they needed to be.

She said it was curious that climate change hadn’t been identified as a risk by the skifield operator, something which undergraduate students had been concerned about some years ago when using the company as a case study.

“Even the scientists have been surprised about how soon and how much we're seeing the impacts,” she said. “People thought we were going to be planning for 10 years from now. Well, that's not happening. These are impacts that we're seeing right now.”

Judges impressed by quality of Waikato business awards finalists

Waikato Herald, NZ Herald, 28 September 2022, and Waikato Business News, 13 October 2022

The finalists in this year's Waikato Chamber of Commerce Business Awards have been announced, with 22 businesses named in the line-up.

Head judge Dr Heather Connolly of Waikato Management School said the 29 judges were impressed with the quality of the finalists.

"It was wonderful to see the calibre of entrants this year, and we are always encouraged when we see businesses enter for the first time," Dr Connolly said. "As judges we feel privileged that the entrants again have provided us with the opportunity to find out more about what makes them special. And as businesses in the region, there are some amazing things happening."

Making selling global simple

Otago Daily Times, 11 October 2022

You couldn’t accuse Zack Pentecost of lacking ambition. The young Queenstown-based businessman has a lofty goal; he wants to help create "the next generation of Kiwi world beaters" through his start-up business Noria, which builds strategies for New Zealand brands to expand globally and reach millions of new customers via online marketplaces.

There are a lot of great New Zealand brands, says Zack, but they either do not make it overseas or have a limited presence, and he saw a great opportunity to make selling globally a lot more simple.

Zack studied strategic management and finance at the University of Waikato's Management School, where a class in management and sustainability opened his eyes to issues facing the world, including resources and climate change. That was when he found his "why" — and he wanted to help combat that change.

At the age of 20 an opportunity arose for Zack to do an internship in procurement and supply chain management in China. Returning to New Zealand, he picked up another internship at an angel investment firm in Auckland. A meeting with Zuru toy company co-founder Nick Mowbray led to another job in China to work on the company's e-commerce transformation.

Innovative leadership programme launches public fund

Waikato Business News, 7 September 2022

The Community and Enterprise Leadership Foundation (CELF) - which aims to 'grow future leaders from all walks of life to build a stronger Waikato' - has established a new philanthropic investment fund to ensure that even more peope can benefit from taking part in CELF's Elevate leadership development programme.

Professor Brad Jackson, CELF’s current programme director and MBA director at Waikato Management School, says the CELF programme is unique in Aotearoa.

“CELF’s strong place-based learning focus has already borne fruit for the Waikato, as it tackles the growing array of complex problems faced by the world," says Professor Jackson. "The founders are to be commended for their foresight, vision and determination."

Waikato Management School's Professor Peter Sun, a co-founder of CELF and its inaugural programme director from 2014, says CELF's vision is based on the premise that responsible leadership goes far beyond the leader’s own organisation, embracing both internal and external stakeholders for the common good of all.

“Bringing leaders from all sectors within the community together, to understand each other and see where effective collaborations are possible, raises the capacity of the whole region,” he says.

Success in the face of world turmoil

Rural News, 31 August 2022

A world in geopolitical turmoil highlights the need for good, genuine relationships. That’s the view of Matt Bolger, who’s just taken over as the new chair of DCANZ – the organisation that represents the nation’s dairy companies on matters such as trade access.

In such difficult times, he says people often become protectionist and that can lead to trade, supply chain and physical disruptions. This is especially the case when dealing with a perishable product that has to be transported over long distances.

Mr Bolger says one of the reasons DCANZ has been successful as an organisation is because it has fostered strong collaboration and relationships among its members. He says it has created a forum where discussions can take place and common ground is found – especially on issues such as international trade.

“When you look at how different sectors have come through the last couple of years with Covid and the supply chain disruptions, I think it [the dairy industry] has gone really well,” he told Rural News.

Bolger says all industries – not just dairy – and the NZ Government have generally worked very well together and have been open and positive in their approach to trade. He says this needs to continue over the long haul because trade agreements don’t happen overnight.

Mr Bolger spent five years working for Fonterra in a range of roles in strategy, then operations looking at commercialising technology. Then he was posted to Chicago for another five years managing some global accounts to the US food sector.

He was also running a number of Fonterra’s relationships with some of the global food companies that were headquartered in Chicago and who had sales teams all round the world. “That was an amazing time because I was working with some great people on the customer side, trying to create value for term and trying to create value for NZ.”

Back in NZ at Fonterra, Bolger worked again on a wide variety of projects including environmental sustainability programmes, digital tools for farmers and different shareholding arrangements. His last year at Fonterra was spent working on its capital structure.

His decision to take up the role of Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Waikato’s Management School should come as no surprise. He says he’s always been passionate about education.

“I have been fortunate to go to great universities in NZ and the USA and Japan,” he says. “The move to Waikato University was not planned, but wow it’s fantastic and an amazing new opportunity.”

Waikato Management School participants gift 20 children's bicycles to Hamilton refugees

NZ Herald, 29 August 2022

Twenty migrant and refugee families settling in Hamilton have been gifted bicycles by participants of the University of Waikato's Management School (WMS) Leadership Academy programme.

Building the bikes taught the almost 80 Year 13 students from across Waikato and Bay of Plenty the importance of working together.

A family of 10 from Congo who arrived in New Zealand after spending 17 years in a Rwanda refugee camp said the bikes will help Ange, 10, and Joshua, 8, get to and from school.

The completed bikes were donated by The Perry Charitable Trust and checked over by Torpedo7 mechanics to ensure they were roadworthy and ready to be presented to families at the Hamilton Multicultural Services Trust.

WMS launched the Leadership Academy in term one this year to support ambitious students to become stronger leaders. The students also heard about leading with compassion and empathy from guest speakers Mike King (mental health activist, Gumboot Friday, I am Hope) and Richie Barnett (ex-Kiwi rugby league captain).

Are unions due for a comeback?

NZ Herald, 30 August and Radio NZ, 1 September 2022

It's been decades since unions were considered a mainstream part of a Kiwi worker's life, but as the cost of living crisis continues to bite, are they due for a comeback?

Mark Harcourt, a Professor of Human Resource Management at Waikato Management School, told the Front Page podcast there's been a gradual resurgence of interest in union representation around the world, particularly due to the pandemic and high inflation.

"There's definitely been some discontent rising for some time that's been revealed in several surveys that have suggested people are more open to unionism and union representation than they maybe were 20 years ago," says Professor Harcourt.

A weakening of collective bargaining power among workers has a significant impact on pay, he says, which can be as much as 15 to 20 per cent, says Professor Harcourt.

Research shows the dramatic fall in union representation from around 50 per cent in the early 90s to around 20 per cent in the early 2000s was caused by a change in legislation -  the 1991 Employment Contracts Act - not a change in people's preferences, he says.

Bolger takes over as DCANZ chair

Dairy News, CountryTV, 23 and 31 August 2022

The dairy industry has been one of New Zealand’s success stories, says Matt Bolger, the new chair of the Dairy Companies Association of NZ (DCANZ), who took over the role from Malcolm Bailey last week.

Speaking to Dairy News, Mr Bolger said the industry has taken the great natural advantage that the country has and applied innovation, technology and a lot of hard work; while at the same time reaching out to the world and developing some excellent relationships.

“When you look at how different sectors have come through the last couple of years with Covid and the supply chain disruptions, I think they have gone really well,” he says. “There are still a lot of challenges out there, but in general I have been pretty impressed at the way they have continued on.”

Mr Bolger says there are real geopolitical challenges facing the world, especially when you are dealing with a perishable product that has to be transported over long distances.

In such difficult times, people often become protectionist and that can lead to trade, supply chain and physical disruptions. “These challenges highlight the importance of a lot of good, genuine relationships spread over a lot of different places,” he says.

Students leading the way to a new life

Waikato Times, Bay of Plenty Times, SunLive, 18 August 2022

The teamwork developed by a bike-building project in a Waikato Management School leadership programme has helped ease the path into a new life in New Zealand for 20 migrant and refugee families.

Around 80 Year 13 students from across Waikato and Bay of Plenty came together on Tuesday for the Waikato Management School Leadership Academy Summit Day. They heard about leading with compassion and empathy from celebrity speakers Mike King and Richie Barnett and spoke about personal self-assessment.

A surprise bike-building activity also taught students about the importance of working together, while giving back to the community. Students grouped together to build 20 children’s bikes, donated by The Perry Charitable Trust and heavily discounted by Torpedo7.

The completed bikes were checked over by Torpedo7 mechanics to ensure they were roadworthy and ready to be presented to families at the Hamilton Multicultural Services Trust.

The pilot will conclude with a final hub day in Tauranga in September.

Awards presented for outstanding achievements

New Zealand Herald, 16 August 2022

Māori business leader and WMS alumna Hinerangi Raumati (Waikato, Ngāti Mutunga) was one of four individuals who received Distinguished Alumni Awards from the University of Waikato at a recent ceremony, recognising their significant achievements and the contributions they made to their communities.

Mrs Raumati is a well-respected governor and Māori business leader working hard to support her communities. Equally active on the marae and in the corporate boardroom, her governance career started at the age of 30 when she was asked to be a trustee for Trust Waikato.

Today, she is the chair of Tainui Group Holdings and Tūrangawaewae Trust Board, several commercial iwi entities, Ngā Miro Health Trust, and sits on many boards, including Genesis Energy and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

She graduated from Waikato with a Bachelor of Management Studies in 1991, followed by a Master of Management Studies in Strategic Management & Leadership in 1994.

 RBNZ Survey: 82% of experts believe inflation has hit its peak, 15 August 2022

While inflation has likely hit its peak, homeowners should brace for further hikes to their mortgage repayments, according to the latest Finder RBNZ Official Cash Rate Survey.

Some 15 experts and economists weighed in on future official cash rate (OCR) moves and other issues relating to the state of New Zealand’s economy. The majority of them were predicting an increase of 50 basis points - bringing the OCR to 3.00% in August - and believed that inflation had peaked at the current level of 7.3%. Almost half of the panellists (45%) expected inflation to fall to 6% or lower by the end of 2022.

One of the panellists is Professor Mark Holmes, an economist at Waikato Management School. He said, "A further monetary tightening is necessary. Inflation expectations are de-anchored from target inflation. NZ has a tight labour market characterised by high wages growth."

Covid, winter illnesses leaving businesses short staffed

1News, 14 July 2022

The latest Omicron wave, isolation periods and winter illnesses are leaving businesses desperately short staffed. That’s on top of an already very tight labour market and unemployment rate of 3.2%.

Associate Professor in Economics Dr Michael Carmeron told 1News, "People are sick, they are isolating, not available to work, I think once we get past those sorts of pressures, things will recover a bit."

NZ has reached full employment, but not all workers will benefit

The Conversation, Stuff, Radio NZ, 13 July 2022

Associate Professor in Economics Dr Michael Cameron argues that while full employment seems like a net positive, we shouldn’t ignore the fact that low-income workers don't benefit to the same extent as more highly qualified workers.

New Zealand’s unemployment rate hit a low of 3.2% in late 2021 and again in early 2022, making it harder for employers to fill vacancies.  However, that still represents more than 90,000 people who are actively seeking work, says Dr Cameron.

While a tight labour market increases the overall bargaining power of workers, it doesn't mean that all workers can demand substantially higher wages, he says. If you look at the types of jobs where generous benefits are being offered to entice skilled workers, it is clear they are not jobs at the bottom end of the wage spectrum. Many low-income workers are stuck in jobs that are part-time, fixed-term or precarious.

In addition, full employment means that wage demands from higher skilled workers could feed through into higher housing and living costs, he says, which would hit low-wage workers particularly hard.

LIfe in the quiet lane: what the Waikato expressway leaves behind

Waikato Times, Stuff, 28 June 2022

Professor Frank Scrimgeour was interviewed for an article looking at the changes in small towns that used to have SH1 running through them, until the extension of the Waikato Expressway. Some places seem to gain economically and some seem to wither, he says, but he’s broadly optimistic about the prospects for the smaller centres.

Professor Scimgeour says the Waikato Expressway gives people the chance to live further away from Hamilton or Auckland, in small towns where houses are cheaper, and commute to work.

“I think what we're going to see is everywhere that has easy access onto an expressway, within an hour of a metropolitan area, we are going to find every spare section that can be built on, will be built on over the next few years. So that generates a certain kind of local business activity.”

While smaller centres have economic potential, to make the most of it they need to make sure they are attractive places for people to live in, not just commute from. Also of value is having something that attracts out-of-towners to stop.

“If we think about the North Waikato, it seems to me there's lots of opportunities, which I would think that iwi, in particular, will ultimately take the lead on.”

Investors need to think green to survive in the sustainable finance space

Business Desk, 28 June 2022

In the face of an ever-looming climate crisis, New Zealand’s sustainable finance and investment sectors are starting to move in a greener direction - and with that comes a whole new approach.

Associate Professor of Māori Business Jason Mika, from Waikato Management School, says climate change is forcing all businesses to make big changes, no matter their size. “The whole shebang, the whole system that we are currently operate according to, relies on self-interest," he says.

Dr Mika says an alternative system is needed, but right now there isn't one. His hope is that the new sustainable financial systems that come out of the climate crisis include a better combination of indigenous and non-indigenous values, principles, models and practices.

“But it's going to be a tough call for people to give up the way that they currently live and what they value."

BOP student leaders get a jumpstart on university

Sun Live, NZ Herald, 21 June 2022

Waikato Management School held a Hub Day in Tauranga last week for more than 40 high school students taking part in its new Leadership Academy programme.

Students from 10 secondary schools across the Bay of Plenty came together for the event, which was packed with inspiring talks, interactive sessions and leadership training.

The Leadership Academy programme is designed for students who want to grow into leaders equipped with the right skills to make a positive difference in their school, future careers and communities. They also get to complete the first-year university paper, Introduction to Leadership Communication.

“The messages I’ve learned so far are unique and I’ll take this with me through life," said Anchal Sharma, deputy head girl at Whakatane High School. "I’m mindful of what it takes to become a leader, and what type of leader people want to follow."

Waikato Management School's Pro Vice-Chancellor Matt Bolger said: “It may be cliche but these students are going to be our leaders in the future, and we want to empower them to grow so they can make an even bigger impact in the world,."

No-one wants to see a Matariki 'Big Mac'

Business, Stuff, 19 June 2022

Māori cultural advisers, academics, and the Government are warning businesses to avoid commercialising the Matariki mid-winter holiday.

Associate Professor of Māori Business Dr Jason Mika​ said commercialisation was a risk for all public holidays, but he hoped to see a different approach for Matariki.

Dr Mika​ said businesses should think carefully about the values of Matariki and whether business actions supported those values.

“It is a day to gather with family and to reflect on the past year. If a business does a Matariki discount or a sale, does that help families acknowledge and reflect, or does it help them go shopping?” Dr Mika​ said.

Budget ignores workforce pressures

Sun Live, 28 May 2022

Associate Professor Maree Roche says pressures on workplaces to return to ‘business as usual’ have been overlooked in the Government’s latest Budget, and it does nothing to support productivity.

Dr Roche is calling on the Government to put a plan in place to develop skilled workers and recognise the exhausting role that organisations, leaders and employees have played in supporting our economy through the pandemic.

“The last two to three years have really challenged and changed attitudes towards the workplace, and have also resulted in a high rate of burnout and fatigue," says Dr Roche. “What we could be looking at is the biggest change in the nature and understanding of ‘going to work’ since the industrial revolution of the late 1700s.”

Dr Roche says the situation has been perpetuated by the State Sector Act, which puts more pressure on organisations to recruit, develop and retain Māori staff. Her research in this area indicates that businesses need better support to respond to the requirements of a more diversified workforce.

Buget-fuelled inflation could stifle regional development, professor fears

The Waikato Times, Stuff, 20 May 2022

Professor of Economics Frank Scrimgeour warns that inflation fuelled by extra Budget spending could create an exodus of workers to Australia and push up business costs, acting as a brake on regional development in the Waikato.

Any extra inflation would hurt those on fixed incomes such as pensioners and beneficiarires, strain local council budgets, and add to the private sector's costs, says Dr Scrimgeour. People with experience in forestry, agriculture and trucking could find it easy to get higher paying jobs across the ditch.

Dr Scrimgeour said the Government was “putting too much petrol on the fire” with inflationary pressure, at a time when the Reserve Bank was trying to combat inflation through raised interest rates.

However, there are some positive things about the Budget that should contribute to improved outcomes, such as creating more social housing in Waikato and elsewhere, he says.

Dr Scrimgeour = supports the extra $350 payment to those earning under $70,000, as it will help take the ‘‘rough edge off cost of living hikes people are facing’’. He prefers giving more money this way than extensions of fuel tax reductions, as the latter would undermine efforts to tackle climate change.

Budget for the 'squeezed middle' - but will it be the political circuit-breaker Labour wants?

The Conversation, 19 May 2022

Associate Professor of Economics Michael Cameron says this year's Budget is a "mixed bag" for health.

Dr Cameron has welcomed the news of a $3.1 billion funding increase for the health system as it adapts to the DHB reforms and a period of significant change. A significant boost in funding for mental health services, ambulance services and Pharmac are also important for the government to deliver on improving social wellbeing.

However, the Budget is still "likely to leave some people disappointed", he says, as it fails to address New Zealand's chronic shortage of general practitioners or the "increasingly urgent need" for a third medical school.

"The big questions now lie in how successful the overall reforms of the health system will be," says Dr Cameron.

Japan inflation fears are fuelling a yen for cheap items from Daiso to Don Quijote

South China Morning Post, 19 April 2022

Consumers in Japan have become thiftier and are now choosing to shop at discount retailers such as 'Y100' shops - the Japanese equivalent of New Zealand's $2 shops. The country's Y100 stores increased by 40% in the last decade to reach 8,000 stores.

The high cost of living and improved stock quality are two of the key reasons for this dramatic change, says Dr Roy Larke, a senior lecturer in marketing at Waikato Management School, who is also an expert in Japanese retailing and consumer behaviour.

"It used to be cheap and cheerful and you got what you paid for," says Dr Larke."But better quality is key and now the feeling among consumers is that it's good enough."

"There was clear evidence of this trend even before the pandemic, when Japanese consumers were clearly nervous over the government's policy line on inflation, and demand for discounts in all sectors began to grow, but especially in basics," he says. "That was in everything from clothes to food and household goods."

"With inflation coming, we are going to see the discount operators doing even better. Companies that are chained to wholesalers and cannot control their prices are going to struggle."

Waikato Chamber of Commerce finally gets to celebrate a gala night

NZ Herald, Business section, 13 March 2022

DEC Pharmaceutical, a Hamilton-based export company that manufactures innovative pharmaceutical solutions for human and animal health, was named the supreme winner at the Waikato Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, held on 11 March.

The company was presented with a $20,000 award sponsored by Waikato Management School towards tuition fees for an employee to enrol in the highly regarded Waikato MBA programme. It was presented by Professor Frank Scrimgeour, head of the school of accounting, finance and economics.

The CEO of the Year Award, sponsored by The University of Waikato, was presented to Tainui Group Holdings Limited Chief Executive Chris Joblin by our Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Alister Jones. Chris was praised for building “a culture of purpose, inclusiveness and enablement” at TGH, and his work leading multiple large-scale projects, including the Ruakura Superhub.

Photo credit: Barker Photography

Border reopening: 20,000 Kiwis a year will leave for Australia

Stuff, Business section, 1 March 2022

Speaking at the 2022 New Zealand Economics Forum, hosted by Waikato Management School, former Prime Minister Helen Clark said the pandemic has created an opportunity to have skilled and talented New Zealanders returning home.

“It's very important to create an environment where they feel that they can thrive here,” Ms Clark said. “Otherwise as circumstances relax particularly in Australia we run the risk of the big brain drain again.”

However, ANZ economists predict about 20,000 New Zealanders a year will leave for Australia once the borders reopen, adding to already “insatiable” demand in New Zealand’s labour market. It was difficult to know how many Kiwis currently residing in Australia would come home once MIQ was no longer a hurdle, they said.

University hosts second annual NZ Economics Forum

Bay of Plenty Times, 27 February 2022

Waikato Management School hosted the 2022 New Zealand Economics Forum this week, to provide a platform for discussing the economic impacts of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic’s long tail.

The keynote speaker lineup included former New Zealand Prime Ministers Rt Hon Jim Bolger and Rt Hon Helen Clark, Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Adrian Orr and CEO of the New Zealand Treasury Dr Caralee McLeish.

“The University is pleased to be able to offer a forum which gives economists, policymakers, and industry leaders the time and space to debate and discuss the complexities of managing our way out of a pandemic," said University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley.

Invasion of Ukraine and economic impact on New Zealand

One News, 25 February 2022

OneNews reported that rising petrol prices and the invasion of Ukraine were a hot topic of discussion at the New Zealand Economics Forum.

"It adds a layer of disruption on our already disrupted word as we see with supply chains, movement of goods, frozen movement of services, so it is a real shock, and it will add to inflation," said one of the forum's guest speakers, principal economist Rodney Jones.

"Bigger impacts economically will be through the subtle impacts on the price of oils," added former Minister of Trade Tim Groser, who was part of the same panel discussion.

Reserve Bank to assess the 'balance' of its inflation and employment objectives, 25 February 2022

The Reserve Bank is considering whether or not to suggest the government broadens its monetary policy remit. The central bank is embarking on a review of its monetary policy framework, which it is legally required to do every five years.

Speaking at the New Zealand Economics Forum on Friday morning, Governor Adrian Orr said the review will “be an opportunity to consider how the Reserve Bank balances our inflation and employment objectives, and what weight, if any, should be put on secondary considerations such as distributional impacts and housing”.

Currently the RBNZ is responsible for targeting price stability (an annual rise in the Consumers Price Index of between 1% and 3%) and “maximum sustainable employment”.

RBNZ eyeing its role in house price inflation

Business Desk, 25 February 2022

In a speech to the New Zealand Economics Forum on Friday morning, Adrian Orr said the Reserve Bank was looking for public feedback on what changes, if any, should be made to its monetary policy remit, to ensure it is "fit for purpose".

The public consultation process comes as the RBNZ considers how to balance its inflation and employment objectives and what weight – if any – should be put on matters such as "distributional impacts" such as wealth and housing.

Ukraine-related volatility set to continue

National Business Review, 25 February 2022

As Russian tanks roll into Ukrainian territory and retaliatory sanctions rain down on Vladimir Putin's cronies, global markets took a predictably volatile turn.

The topic was on the table at today's New Zealand Economics Forum, where Charles Goodhart, emeritus professor of banking and finance at the London School of Economics, said: "It is bad news however you look at it."

Critical views of Reserve Bank's monetary policy

National Business Review, 25 February 2022

Former Reserve Bank deputy governor Grant Spencer has criticised the bank for not moving soon or fast enough on raising interest rates.

RBNZ Governor Adrian Orr again defended the bank's response when he spoke at the New Zealand Economics Forum today, hosted by Waikato Management School.

Orr explains how the RBNZ is driving the economy

Good Returns, 25 February 2022

Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr says the coming OCR increases are about "taking our foot off the accelerator now to minimise having to use the brakes harder in future."

In a speech to the New Zealand Economics Forum, Mr Orr said in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, the economy appeared to be headed downwards, with low inflation and falling employment, and a collapse in business investment.

The "path of least regrets" at that stage was to move quickly to ease monetary conditions, he said. But this process went so far that it reached the outer limits of its effectiveness and other actions were needed, such as quantitative easing.

“Our ‘path of least regrets’ has now become one where we must ensure that consumer price inflation and inflation expectations do not rise persistently above our target level."

Young entrepreneur's death sparks media backlash

Mediawatch, Radio New Zealand, 12 December 2021

In a story about the pressures faced by founders of fast-growing start-ups, Dr Amanda Williamson, lecturer in innovation and strategy at Waikato Management School, said a problem of "surface acting" by entrepreneurs needs to be addressed.

"'Fake it until you make it' is a big saying. You've got to act confident to get the money. People don't want to let down the mask, they're very afraid of sharing the harsh realities of what they're going through," she said.

Pre-Covid supply chains may never return to normal

Newsroom, 10 December 2021

The world's supply chains may never return to pre-pandemic 'normal' levels, experts have warned.

Professor of Economics Anna Strutt said the pandemic had brought “waves of supply shocks”, with the proportion of ships arriving within eight hours of schedule cut in half, and the cost of shipping a box from China to the United States increasing tenfold.

There was also a sizeable mismatch between supply and sharply rebounding consumer demand, she said, while rising inflation brought its own set of challenges.

Professor Strutt said Covid-19 had merely accelerated pre-existing trends towards shorter and faster supply chains, with a greater diversity of suppliers.

An MBA for the people who are ready to step up

Stuff - Business section, 2 December 2021

A strong focus on experiential learning is what makes the Waikato MBA so distinctive, says programme director Professor Brad Jackson.

"The Waikato MBA relies heavily on the power of experiential learning directly from the complex business world we operate within. Notably, we pioneered the use of business case competitions within our curriculum."

Experienced lecturers and leading industry practitioners expose students to contemporary leadership thinking, he says.

"They engage with a highly experienced and diverse group of students who want to continuously adapt, redefine, and transform themselves to be impactful within the changing business world."

"I have never come across alumni who are so positive about their MBA experience and how important it has been in their career development."

Get among the best

New Zealand Herald, Education & Careers special pull-out, 11 November 2021

Pro Vice-Chancellor Matt Bolger explains what the key factors are that make Waikato Management School (WMS) stand out from other business schools.

The quality of the academic experience at WMS is excellent, and real-world experiences like workplace internships are part of the student experience, says Mr Bolger.

"We think the big challenge we need to address is not just creating business graduates, but preparing students to make a positive difference for organisations ... Our goal is to help students uncover their interests, uniqueness and encourage them to make a difference. We give them the skills and character to go on and make what they want of the world."

"The way we structure the programme is that there is more emphasis on group work, case competitions and real world connections. Realising their own values and talking to people from diverse backgrounds. It makes them more work ready."

Waikato's four-year Bachelor of Management Studies with Honours is unique in New Zealand, says Mr Bolger. "The fourth year really challenges them and sets them apart. It’s for people who are ambitious and want to stretch themselves. The fourth year is an investment but it has a fantastic pay off. It really helps them achieve more by setting them on a faster trajectory in their career."

Voice-activated assistant helps business owners understand their finances

NZ Entrepreneur, 3 November 2021

Waikato Management School alumna Donnamaree Ryder is the creator of, a voice-activated assistant integrated with Xero and Quickbooks that keeps small business owners updated on their cashflow and financial performance.

“We’re now in global scale-up mode and our goal is to onboard 100 partners and 10,000 customers in the next 12 months,” says Donnamaree, who graduated from Waikato with a Bachelor of Management Studies in Finance.

Donnamaree had a successful corporate career at Carter Holt Harvey and Fonterra, with roles in investment banking, finance and corporate auditing. She then started her own consultancy business and came up with the idea for

“ showcases that it doesn’t matter where you come from. If you have the belief, drive and encouragement, anything is possible," she says.

Waikato Management School ranked #1 in New Zealand

Stuff, Education section, 29 October 2021
Waikato Business News, 5 November 2021 

Waikato Management School has been ranked number one in New Zealand for business and economics by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject 2022.

Waikato is also the only university in New Zealand ranked in the world's top 125 universities for business and economics, placing the institution among the top one per cent of business schools globally.

Waikato Management School (WMS) Pro Vice-Chancellor Matt Bolger said Waikato has both a strong focus on student success and a strong research culture which aims to nurture younger research staff.

“Our academics are not only great teachers, but experts and thought-leaders in their fields, and their research is often highly cited by other researchers, which contributes to the high ranking,” said Mr Bolger.

Chamber operations chief takes on new role at University of Waikato

New Zealand Herald, 1 November 2021

Paula Sutton, Waikato Chamber of Commerce's chief operating officer, takes up a new role as engagement manager at Waikato Management School in November.

The new role will see her identify mutually beneficial opportunities for the school and Waikato businesses to connect, collaborate and grow.

"Paula has some amazing relationships with Waikato business leaders through her role in the chamber over the past few years," says Dr Heather Connolly, director of engagement and executive education at Waikato Management School.

"Her appointment provides the university with an opportunity to strengthen our relationships with local business, and maintain a strong pipeline of opportunities for students to engage with the wider business community."

Fair's fair

Otago Daily Times, 25 October 2021

Professor of human resource management Dr Mark Harcourt provided comment on the importance of trade unions in fighting wage inequality in New Zealand.

The demise of trade unions over the last few decades has been shown to be one of the biggest factors in growing inequality, he says.

"The collapse of unions was overwhelmingly because of the institutional changes brought on by the Employment Contracts Act. It was never about employees’ preferences," Harcourt says.

Once their role was undermined, unions’ influence and membership spiralled downwards together. The Employment Relations Act arrested that fall, but nothing more.

"Free riding" then became an increasing problem. Because employers cannot offer worse pay than what is in the workplace collective contract, people are tempted to take the benefits without the costs of union membership.

MBA: Degree of certainty

NZ Business, 21 October 2021

Professor Brad Jackson, Director of the Waikato MBA programme, says there’s a real pride and culture around the Waikato MBA.

He sees the MBA as a means to make better sense of the world and your place within it, and therefore it has even more relevance during challenging Covid times.

The programme takes more of a practical approach, addressing the problems that businesses face on a daily basis.

Developing the ability to question the way things are done is one of the most valuable outcomes from the whole course experience, he says. “Our students have a much bigger view of the world when they graduate ... they emerge with a very different plan around how they can impact both their organisations and their communities.”

As for the programme itself, Jackson says it’s not just about its economic business impact, it’s now also more about creating social, environmental and cultural impacts. “It’s in keeping with the new corporate ethos of moving from a shareholder to a much broader stakeholder orientation.”

Record finalists in a record entry year for Waikato Business Awards

Business, New Zealand Herald, 21 September 2021

The winners of the Waikato Chamber of Commerce Business Awards will be announced on 11 March - selected from a record total of 80 entries by local businesses.

Head judge Dr Heather Connolly, Director of Engagement and Executive Education at Waikato Management School, says: "As someone who has been engaged for a number of years with the awards, there was something extra special this year and maybe that is in part due to having to rethink business due to the global pandemic.

"All the businesses who entered were seriously focused on how they can make a difference to the region, economically, socially and environmentally. As judges, this really made the process even more challenging than previous years."

Waikato researchers help launch circular economy initiatives for business

21 September 2021

An $11 million University of Waikato-led multidisciplinary research project, Āmiomio Aotearoa, has partnered with the Sustainable Business Network to help New Zealand businesses build a low-carbon, circular economy.

Professor Eva Collins says transitioning to a circular economy would enable New Zealand to avoid costly extraction, creation, and disposal of resources; and instead focus on regenerating healthy, natural systems. But it required a significant shift in the way people think, live and work, she says.

Go Circular 2025 will provide practical tools for businesses to help shift New Zealand from our ‘take-make-waste’, linear economy to a place where waste, pollution and greenhouse gases are designed out of our industries.

It will explore the barriers to circularity for businesses; and look at designing products for packaging and construction made from natural resources and materials currently landfilled.

Learn more about the Āmiomio Aotearoa project here.

TVNZ's long-serving boss creates a vacuum

Radio New Zealand, 3 September 2021

TVNZ chief executive and Waikato alumnus Kevin Kenrick will step down as CEO of state-owned broadcaster TVNZ next February after nine years at the helm.

Prior to his appointment in 2012, Kenrick was chief executive at House of Travel and had no media industry experience.

When he leaves in six months’ time, he will be the longest-serving CEO of a major New Zealand media company - quite an achievement in a business where digital disruption has been a continuous factor and political changes frequent.

Over the past decade, TVNZ has maintained its dominant position in free-to-air TV and expanded its on-demand streaming service TVNZ on Demand. It has also struck deals to broadcast the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and America’s Cup, and upcoming international cricket and netball.

Kenrick, who graduated from a Bachelor of Management Studies in 1986, has always been firmly focused on the commercial performance of the company and securing advertising revenues of more than $300m a year.

Winners showed ability to adapt and excel

Whakatane Beacon, 20 August 2021

The judging panel for this year’s HEG Business Excellence Awards 2021 was headed by Dr Christo Ackermann, Senior Lecturer in Accounting at the University of Waikato in Tauranga.

Dr Ackermann acknowledged the calibre of businesses entered in the awards, which are run by the Eastern Bay of Plenty Chamber of Commerce, and said context was significant in the selection of the finalists and winners.

“The past two years have been challenging and tumultuous yet also inspiring and triumphant," he says. "This is because we have extraordinary individuals and firms, who persevered and adapted to significant change during the Covid pandemic."

Business leaders have had to change their mind-set to adapt and accept a new reality, he says, and this included testing out new ways of doing things, learning and searching for new ways of being successful.

“It was hardly business as usual. It was ‘adapt or go bankrupt’. “The leaders and their firms who managed to internalise that new practice and moved on to adopting new behaviours and understandings of how to thrive during turbulent times, were the ones that stood out, and obviously those who met our judging criteria best.”

Money: Warning for homebuyers: 67% of experts say an OCR increase will slow property growth

Property Noise, 18 August 2021

In this month's Finder RBNZ Official Cash Rate Survey, 15 experts and economists weighed in on future OCR moves and other issues relating to the state of New Zealand’s economy.

The vast majority (80%) predicted that the OCR would increase in August by 25-50 basis points (from 0.25% to 0.50-0.75%). A smaller majority (58%) agreed with mortgage lending limits to cool property prices.

As one of the experts surveyed, Professor of Economics Mark Holmes said, "Inflation has recently breached the target. The larger than expected fall in the unemployment rate further points to increased tightness in the labour market. Despite the various measures put in place, house price inflation remains too high. This is all pointing towards the RBNZ nudging up the interest rate."

MediaWorks and NZ's problem with toxic work cultures - why HR can't fix everything

New Zealand Herald, The Conversation, 10 August 2021

Dr Suzette Dyer, Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management at Waikato Management School had an opinion editorial published about her latest research on toxic work cultures; co-authored with Dr Fiona Hurd from AUT.

After analysing three years of reflections by tertiary HR students, their research found that many would be afraid to speak up about inadequate HR policies or processes at future employers, as it could put a black mark on their career progression.

"Studies have shown that any form of disrespectful behaviour – such as refusing to help, spreading rumours, subtle undermining, or even leadership behaviour such as shoulder tapping for preferential treatment – can lead to a culture that supports toxic power structures and where harassment and bullying become risks," they said.

"But having clear, candid and honest discussions with colleagues around the leadership table about the invisible culture will open a dialogue and create the potential for change.

Connor Johnston: Mount Maunganui's rising film star

Weekend Sun, Tauranga, 30 July 2021

New Zealand's film and TV industry has its eye on Tauranga actor and Waikato alumnus Connor Johnston as one of the country’s rising stars.

Connor, 24, has scored a role as a boxer in the film Punch alongside Hollywood star Tim Roth, just wrapped filming on two television series, and is set to star in a NZ web series.

As a former student at Tauranga Boys’ College, Connor was offered a place in the National Basketball League, but his dream was to become the next Sam Neill.

He accepted a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship to study a Bachelor of Management Studies at the University of Waikato, majoring in Economics and German, which also paid for public speaking workshops and leadership programmes.

After graduating at the end of 2018 he attended drama school and secured his first role in TV3’s Head High, which will air in New Zealand, the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom.

“Connor has a fearless ability to take on any character, constantly seeking truth and thus demanding the eye of the audience. He’s a good looking bugger too!”, says fellow actor, Blair Strang of Shortland Street and Nothing Trivial fame.

He also scored a part in season two of My Life is Murder, starring Lucy Lawless and featuring Martin Henderson of Grey’s Anatomy and Star Trek legend William Shatner.

Former corporate auditor launches voice-activated financial advice tool for SMEs

NZ Herald, 12 July 2021

Waikato Management School alumna Donnamaree Ryder has launched a voice-activated financial advice tool for small-to-medium businesses - and her business has already gone global.

The new app,, has three accounting clients signed up in the United States – one with 200 branch offices – plus three more organisations in New Zealand and one in Australia.

A former corporate auditor, Donnamaree built the app prototype herself using interns from the University of Waikato and Wintec. She says the challenge facing small business owners is they have to use accounting software to look at financial charts and then interpret what to do next - or seek advice from an accountant.

By contrast, provides business owners with a daily financial commentary and analysis in a spoken format, which they can listen to through either Alexa or their own mobile phone, to help them improve and grow their business. The app is integrated with Xero and Quickbooks.

Donnamaree graduated with a Bachelor of Management Studies (Finance and Māori) from Waikato in 1997. She has worked for the past 20 years at Carter Holt Harvey and Fonterra and now runs her own business in Hamilton.

Business awards launched with new sponsor

Waikato Business News, 12 July 2021

Businesses have been urged to enter this year’s Waikato Business Awards at a launch hosted at the headquarters of new main sponsor Foster Group.

Chief judge Dr Heather Connolly, from Waikato Management School, said entering the awards was as easy as answering a handful of questions online, with the emphasis on telling a “cool story” with evidence, followed by judges’ visits.

“So why should you enter? Well, one, as judges, we are there to support you and not to criticise you. We are there to get you to tell us about what’s exciting about your business, what you do that’s different from everybody else, what cool ideas have your staff come up with? What ways are you tackling problems differently?"

At the end of the process, a business gets the judges’ feedback. “And that feedback is: ‘this is what you’re doing great, this is where we think you’ve got some great opportunities to expand your business’. Because it’s about you, it’s about how you can move your organisation forward," says Dr Connolly.

Money: Why it's important to get kids talking about finance

New Zealand Herald, 4 July 2021

If parents want their children to achieve financial freedom by retirement age, they should teach them about investing rather than just saving. That’s the view of Professor Frank Scrimgeour, head of accounting, economics and finance at Waikato Management School, and his colleague Dr Abhishek Mukherjee, a lecturer in finance.

Thanks to the magic of compound growth, a deposit of $2040 when a child is born could become a potential nest egg of $1 million by the time they turn 65 — if the US sharemarket continues to grow at 10 per cent each year.

Dr Mukherjee says teenagers who are responsible for paying unexpected expenses for themselves, rather than asking their parents for money, are more likely to keep track of their money.

“Parents can give their children things like free stocks and bonds or real estate without significant tax consequences with a custodial account.”

“Teenagers who earn their own money can better understand financial concepts like saving and spending. As long as it does not interfere with school, working a part-time job can be a great educational experience," he says.

Hundreds of students are learning about money management and investing in shares, bonds and commodity markets at the University of Waikato’s Tauranga campus, where 250 students are enrolled in accounting papers and 130 in finance papers.

“We expect Tauranga enrolments to grow given the employment opportunities associated with high-quality graduates in accounting and finance, " says Professor Scrimgeour.

Students complete practical assessments that aim to develop their investment decision-making skills, he says.

“Students get to work on a fund simulation project using our brand-new finance trading software. This hi-tech simulation project provides the student with the experience of buying and selling shares, bonds, commodities, and they compete to build the most valuable portfolios."

“In the accounting papers, we teach the student to work with clients to help them make their businesses more profitable and successful and reduce their exposure to financial risk."

Agribusiness report: AI alive and kicking in our orchards and paddocks

New Zealand Herald, 2 July 2021

Dr Amanda Williamson, a lecturer in strategy and innovation at Waikato Management School, is about to launch a national survey to measure how far agribusiness is down the track with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and what barriers there are to progress.

AI will have a transformative effect on primary industries, she says, with predictions that it could bring more than $50 billion in benefits to the New Zealand economy by 2035.

AI is important because the business landscape is increasingly uncertain and requires leaders to analyse complex information at a greater pace than ever before, says Dr Williamson.

“Emerging AI technologies help people make sense of information, provide data-driven insights, and make rapid evidence-based decisions — think supply chains," she says.

"With data we can improve processes and performance, by augmenting decision-making and building digital products and services through AI ... The organisations that have invested in collecting data are poised to be the leaders in the market."

We can't just turn off the tap to international tourism

Stuff, 27 June 2021

What does the future of New Zealand's tourism industry look like in a post-Covid world?

In a recent op-ed, Professor of Tourism Management Chris Ryan says that while returning to the past is not an option, we also cannot turn off the tap completely.

"But with the success of attracting tourists has come growing local skepticism as to the benefits; a dissatisfaction illustrated best in the stories of toileting practices by freedom campers," he says.

The government's 2020 Tourism Taskforce Report made it clear the industry is now expected to deliver net benefits across the four well-beings - economic, social, cultural and environmental. The government is also seeking to restrain growth in international visitor numbers.

"How many visitors are we prepared to take, and where are we going to put them? And do we want to alter our carrying capacity?"

He says some of the options for managing our tourist numbers could include cancelling certain air routes flown by Air New Zealand; differential pricing for international visitors compared to locals, quota systems, advance bookings, and smart tourism.

Te Puke single mum's pursuit of a degree

SunLive, 19 June 2021

Former Te Puke High School student Kristy Manley-Griffin, 28 says her biggest motivation for studying at the University of Waikato in Tauranga has been her daughter Ivy, as she wanted to create a better future for her with more opportunities.

After being made redundant from a job she really enjoyed, Kirsty decided to take the plunge and go back to school for the first time in nearly a decade.

"Most of my life I’d been told that I have potential, but I always wondered what it was that I should really do. I remembered enjoying accounting at high school, because I’ve always been good with numbers, but I wasn’t focused enough academically at the time so I put it on the backburner.”

She was also grateful to receive a $2,500 education scholarship from GHA Chartered Accountants & Management Consultants, a Māori-run business based in Rotorua and Tauranga that aims to help grow the next generation of emerging Māori business leaders.

GHA was founded in 2005 by Glenn Hawkins, an alumnus of Waikato Management School.

Kristy honoured to be chosen as the student speaker for her graduation ceremony held at the University’s Tauranga campus on 11 June – despite her huge fear of public speaking.

Her goal now is to become a Chartered Accountant and use her financial and business knowledge to help manage her family’s kiwifruit business.

Kiwi ingenuity in the future of food - Expert reaction

Science Media Centre, 3 June 2021

How can we harness Kiwi innovation and ingenuity to help feed a growing global population, in a way that is healthy for people and the planet?  That question was explored in detail at a one-day event, 'Feed Our Future', held in Wellington in June.

Waikato Management School's Professor Kathryn Pavlovich, who has expertise in strategic management and entrepreneurship, says the production and distribution of food is one of the most pressing problems we are facing today - especially so with the current Covid-19 disruption to our global supply chains.

“How do we teach our young people to grow food? How do we change our attitudes that our fruit must be perfect and shining as opposed to fresh and nutritious? How do we learn to grow and eat with the seasons rather than relying on significant amounts of unnecessary imported food?  These are questions that we face as we seek to develop our own regenerative and ecologically imbued food systems.”

Her colleague Dr Ou Wang, a senior lecturer in agribusiness, says adopting a more plant-based diet would be a logical first step towards more sustainable behaviour.

His research shows that there are some obvious differences when comparing attitudes of New Zealand consumers to those of Chinese consumers. For example, Kiwis have a stronger sense of entitlement and dependence attached to eating meat, but they are also concerned about animal welfare.

He also found that social peer pressure doesn't play a positive role in encouraging people to adopt a plant-based diet in either New Zealand or China. Rather, such behaviour is motivated by individual obligation or environmental concerns.

Driving future success in the China market with omni-channel retailing

Stuff - Business, 28 May 2021

New Zealand businesses trying to expand into overseas markets like China need to develop an Omni-Channel Retail (OCR) strategy that provides a consistent customer experience across all their sales points.

According to senior lecturer in marketing Dr Mark Kilgour, brands that have well-integrated touchpoints will give customers the most value when shopping across different channels, leading to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention.

Design thinking to help grow businesses

SunLive, 3 May 2021

Clare Swallow was named as one of New Zealand’s most digitally savvy business women in 2015, thanks to her expertise in human-centred design thinking.

Today, the Waikato Management School alumna (PGDipMgtSt, 2014) is focused on helping CEOs and managers use this highly effective technique to foster creativity and innovation among their employees - which typically leads to greater profits.

Design thinking is all about putting customers at the heart of your business strategy to identify new opportunities, says Clare. “Organisations often create a new role because they think they need an innovation manager ... but really it's a cultural change that’s needed," she says.

Later this month, Clare is teaching a three-day short course in Tauranga called 'Design Thinking for Business Impact'; co-created by Priority One and Waikato Management School.

"After speaking with CEOs in the Bay of Plenty, we found a step change was needed in how businesses were addressing innovation and growth. There was a desire to come at innovation from a fresh perspective."

To learn more, please visit

Study means better economic and disaster modelling

University of Waikato, 26 April 2021

Economist Professor John Gibson, of Waikato Management School, has found a better way of using satellite images of 'night lights' - artificially lit areas of planet Earth - to help measure urban growth and local population in places where on-the-ground statistics are not reliable or not easily available.

This data can also be used by governments to detect the impacts of natural disasters, or to inform policy decision-making.

But the space images currently used by economists are highly flawed in the way they show light on earth, and haven't been updated since 2013.

Fortunately, Professor Gibson has found a better source of night lights data that is 80% better at predicting underlying economic activity - the Suomi satellite’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite.

Professor Gibson's study, Better Night Lights Data, For Longer, was published in Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics.

Inflation data unlikely to settle argument over how much to worry

Stuff Business, 19 April 2021

Waikato University research fellow Leo Krippner told the New Zealand Economics Forum in March that the country probably had the best environment for the emergence of high inflation “since the 1970s”.

That was because of the current very strong monetary and fiscal stimulus, combined with supply disruptions created by Covid, and changes in the labour market, he said.

ANZ chief economist Sharon Zollner warned at the same conference in Hamilton that just a 1% rise in mortgage rates would lead to a 5% overall drop in Aucklanders’ disposable income.

Time to thrive

NZ Business, 19 April 2021

After dropping out of high school at 14, Rachel Adams made the brave decision to start up a new cafe and art gallery on the main street of Waipawa, in Hawke's Bay.

This courageous decision sparked a lifelong passion for business and entrepreneurship. At the age of 19, Rachel decided to enrol in a Bachelor of Communication degree at Waikato Management School, majoring in Marketing and Public Relations.

After graduating from Waikato, she was offered a role as communications manager at SODA Inc - where she co-created the first-ever New Zealand Startup Bootcamp event - and was then promoted to head of operations.

Earlier this year Rachel become general manager of Manaaki, a business support network that provides mentoring to New Zealand's budding small business owners.

“Starting a business can be scary – especially if you’re leaving a job. You have so many responsibilities to deal with and owning a business is not for everyone," she says.

“It’s important to know the triggers that determine whether your business is profitable or not. If you’re not at least breaking even or making a profit, then you’re just managing a hobby, not a business."

Owning a business can be dangerous to your health

New Zealand Herald, 14 April 2021; and Lab Manager, 26 May 2021

Being your own boss can be dangerous for your health, according to new international research co-authored by Dr Amanda Williamson, a lecturer in innovation and strategy at Waikato Management School.

The research study suggests that while owning and managing a business can be "one of the most rewarding jobs on the planet", it is also linked with greater wear and tear on the body's inflammatory, metabolic and cardiovascular systems.

The study also involved academics from the University of Central Florida, King's College London, and Technische Universität Dresden, and was recently published in the journal Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice.

Staying up all night, working nonstop, eating on the run and skipping meals are often telltale signs of starting a new business. But this constant hustle can have a negative impact on an entrepreneur's health and well-being, as well as their business.

And the post-pandemic work mode of being "always on" isn't helping, says Dr Williamson.

Techniques that entrepreneurs can use to relieve stress and boost their productivity include simple things like taking a walk outside, listening to music, or taking micro-breaks for 5-10 minutes.

Here's why migrant businesses are booming, despite the pandemic

Stuff, 4 April 2021

Migrant-run family businesses are doing better than expected since the Covid-19 pandemic hit New Zealand.

When migrant businesses cater to ethnic minority communities, they tend to hold a monopoly in the market, which protects them from the impact of a recession, says Nirosha Hewa Wellalage, a senior lecturer in finance at Waikato Management School.

Dr Wellalage says the family business model is common among migrant entrepreneurs, as it works well in times of crisis.

"For many migrants they don’t have another option so everyone in the family pitches in. That means long hours and a lot of hard work, because they might not have a safety net,’’ she says.

"And if they’re in the same bubble there are fewer restrictions in how they can operate. They also reinvest the family’s earnings into the business, which is important in a time when it can be hard to get a bank loan,’’ Wellalage says.

But outside a pandemic, family businesses struggle to expand and typically fail after the second generation, as family dynamics can negatively affect the operational structure of the business.

Hamilton eyes Government's housing cash

Stuff, 23 March 2021

Dr Frank Scrimgeour​, an economics professor at Waikato Management School, applauds the creation of the government's Housing Acceleration Fund. But the challenge will be in how it is executed.

At the crux of the country’s housing crisis is a problem with supply, he says. Contributing to the supply problem is the way local government is funded, the impact of the Resource Management Act, and the significant decline in interest rates.

“It’s not surprising that we’ve seen an acceleration in asset prices and it being dominated by people who already have assets,” he says. “It [the housing crisis] is partly something which has resulted from decades of action, but also partly something out of the current situation.”

Argument for investing in saving lives from flu, too

Newsroom, 17 March 2021

Economics professor John Gibson of Waikato Management School argues the country's financial investment in combating Covid is disproportionate to the number of deaths we're saving. He says that to be consistent, we should have been investing similar amounts to prevent deaths from flu and other causes.

Dr Gibson's article, published on the University of Waikato website, says government responses to a health risk must always weigh competing threats to health and wellbeing.

"And so the question lingers: to what extent has our national Covid response been in proportion to the actual threat? And what are the less publicised – but no less significant – other consequences of our ‘safety at all costs’ approach?"

It develops on a presentation he gave to the National Economics Forum hosted at the University of Waikato this month. "The lack of trade-off analysis raises future uncertainty," he said. "We did it for Covid, so why not do it for flu every winter?"

He is worried that the billions borrowed to manage the Covid response and economic stimulus would create a debt burden for the next generation, "and possibly create perverse effects on life expectancy."

Work from home kills off Wellington PR agency Double Denim

Stuff, 13 March 2021

A Wellington public relations agency has called it quits, citing the difficulty of operating in a world with less face-to-face contact.

Over decades communications technology has allowed us to move beyond trading within our limited family and cultural networks to transact with complete strangers, ​says economics professor Dr John Gibson, from Waikato Management School.

This created a greater need for people to establish a relationship of trust with people they don't know, which can only be done in-person, especially for complex transactions, he says.

The need for in-person contact was one reason why people were fighting to be located closer to the central business districts of cities pre-pandemic, even though technology had created the ability for many meetings to be held virtually, without face-to-face communication.

“The Zoom calls and the other technology things are good at what they prove to be good at it in terms of back office operations: the stuff that can be routinised, ... the stuff that can be reduced to a set of very clear instructions," he says.

“[But] the stuff where there’s uncertainty; where there’s nuance ... the remote is no substitute at all for the face-to-face.”

So, will the advantages of face-to-face contact mean we will eventually see everyone returning to CBDs and moving away from working from home? Professor Gibson says international research indicates some people would stay at home because they preferred it, while others would stay away from the office because they were nervous about the perceived risk of contracting Covid-19.

The 2021 New Zealand Economics Forum

The 2021 New Zealand Economics Forum on 3 & 4 March, discussing some of the key economic challenges facing New Zealand in a post-Covid world, generated a huge amount of media coverage, including TV, radio, print and social media.

The keynote speakers were Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson; Governor of the Reserve Bank Adrian Orr; CEO of ASB Bank Vittoria Shortt; and Sir Bill English. See here for more details about the event.

Media quotes were attributed to a wide range of speakers, including the University of Waikato's Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Waikato Management School Matt Bolger, and Professor of Economics John Gibson.

Here is a selection of the media coverage:

A year of Covid: How it started, how's it going

Stuff: Opinion, 28 February 2021

As we moved into lockdown in 2020, analysts were predicting house prices would fall as unemployment rates were expected to reach double digits. As Professor of Economics Les Oxley explains, there were no foreign property investors to boost the housing market, so these predictions seemed solid.

The Government responded to the unemployment predictions with a range of wage support schemes. They were so successful in fact that the New Zealand economy grew, alongside increased demand for new houses.

"As we move into 2021, house price inflation has entered the list of public enemies. The Minister of Finance is seeking to act, but with one or both hands tied behind his back. Capital gains tax, is once again “not on my watch”," says Professor Oxley.

"Stand up then the Reserve Bank Governor, Adrian Orr ... Expecting the Reserve Bank to simultaneously control, manage, and determine house price inflation, places it between the proverbial rock and a hard place."

"If the Reserve Bank seeks to dampen house prices by increasing interest rates, the NZ dollar will rise, reducing the returns from the export economy which have so far supported the economy through 2020,' he says.

Modelling international trade regulations reveals hidden impacts

LiveNews, 24 February 2021

New Zealand recently signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), an historic trade agreement between 15 economies in the Asia-Pacific region, covering almost a third of the world’s population.

The decision to sign was supported with advanced economic modelling by a team of researchers, including Professor of Economics Anna Strutt, from Waikato Management School.

Their analysis highlighted that many of the gains from this agreement are likely to come from reductions in non-tariff measures – countries’ policies or regulations that impact on imports or exports.

“With trade agreements now tending to focus on broader areas, including non-tariff measures, we realised we were missing quite important parts of the story if we didn’t have the data and tools to model these appropriately," says Professor Strutt. From 2014-2017, Professor Strutt led a team collating data on the impact of New Zealand’s non-tariff measures. Their work forms part of the international database that is now widely used by economists and policy makers across the world.

The data also fed into a recent United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP) report, co-authored by Waikato alumnus Dr Alexey Kravchenko, which showed that around two-thirds of New Zealand’s non-tariff measures directly address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a very high proportion compared to other countries.

“While regulations are often necessary, improved transparency and harmonisation of standards can help to reduce the costs of doing business internationally,” Professor Strutt says.

How the port blockage threatens our global trade network

Stuff, 22 February 2021

New Zealand is becoming more isolated from a maritime connectivity perspective, which could diminish our international trade competitiveness over the coming years, says Dr Nadia Trent, senior lecturer in supply chain management at Waikato Management School.

Decreased connectivity will make it more costly to import and export goods, and this cost will eventually make it to the consumer’s pocket.

"We need to think carefully about how we continue to entice shipping lines to loop into our small corner at the bottom of the world, and offer them a compelling business case, that includes working harder at port efficiency and reliability," says Dr Trent.

Curbing population growth to tackle climate change a tough ask

Stuff - Environment, and The Conversation, 25 January 2021

Addressing climate change by reducing population growth - which significantly contributes to carbon emissions - raises difficult moral questions that most people would prefer to avoid having to answer, says Associate Professor of Economics Michael Cameron.

Low-income countries argue it is unfair to hamper their ability to continue to grow their economies; while government-led population control policies, such as China's One Child policy which ended in 2015, present serious moral questions for democratic countries.

However, all high-income countries currently have below-replacement fertility, with fewer children being born than are necessary to maintain a constant population. Future population growth is projected by the United Nations to peak at around 11 billion in 2100 and then to slip into slow decline after that.

"So if we can get through this century without catastrophic environmental effects, then population may start to decline as a contributor to climate change," says Dr Cameron. "Of course, there is a lot of uncertainty about future population growth, so only time will tell whether the UN’s predictions hold true."