2022 has been a stellar year of reconnection for New Zealand businesses. After two years of multiple Covid lockdowns and tough border restrictions – which were not lifted in their entirety until mid-year – there was pent-up appetite from business people to get out into the world, renew contacts and forge new opportunities.
In particular, 2022 has also been a time for boards of directors from our leading companies to assess whether their strategies are still fit for purpose. That has necessitated looking at the state of markets internationally and what their competitors are up to.
It’s not all been pure business.
Air New Zealand took a bevy of chief executives to New York on their new direct flight to engage with some stellar thought-leaders; look for Tim McCready’s take outs in today’s Dynamic Business Report.
Stephen Jacobi – who leads the International Business Forum – travelled to India, where he found the time was right for a new and urgent approach to expand New Zealand’s bilateral economic relationship with that fast-growing nation.
Others like Fonterra, have restructured to have a renewed focus on global markets. The dairy co-operative has appointed seasoned executive Judith Swales to lead their new focus as we report today.
But when it comes to opening doors for New Zealand business, Jacinda Ardern deserves considerable praise. She has led business missions to Singapore, Japan, the United States, Australia and more recently Vietnam.
New Zealand’s key agribusinesses have been represented on various missions, along with tech companies, tourism players and even fashion designers.
As Ardern writes today, 2022 has been a huge year for New Zealand’s free trade agenda. “It’s also the year I rediscovered that the role of Prime Minister can sometimes be Cheerleader-in-Chief.”
Together with Trade Minister Damien O’Connor, she has set a cracking pace forging trade deals with new partners like the United Kingdom and European Union and closing out (with others) long-standing negotiations such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The photo montage above represents just some of the many meetings she has had with world leaders this year.
In today’s report, we explore how digital trade and innovation has become centre stage for businesses wanting to keep pace with technological change. This includes models for the future such as Toyota’s Woven City. And a reminder from demographer Paul Spoonley that New Zealand’s own population makeup is changing.
Further insights from Oliver Hartwich on the economy and Dawn Freshwater on freedom of speech underline there will be much to talk about in the New Year.
Finally, it has been a pleasure to once again celebrate the winners and finalists of the 2022 Deloitte Top 200 awards.
This is a major production for Deloitte and the Herald.
The Top 200 section in today’s report has stories on all category winners and finalists. Videos of prime winners celebrated at last night’s award function can also be found at: nzherald.co.nz/business.
As Deloitte CEO Mike Horne says, these winners have found ways to reconnect with a changed world, truly embracing the theme of this year’s awards – “the world is ours”.
On behalf of the Herald’s Business Reports team: Tim McCready, Isobel Marriner, Graham Skellern, Bill Bennett, Tennessy Weir, Richard Dale, Tim Wilson and myself, we wish all readers a restorative holiday season and a fruitful 2023.
We’ll be back next year with our first report, Project Auckland.
Enjoy the report.