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The Auckland business community turned out in force to hear Finance Minister Bill English give his first major address of the year at Finance 2013 today.
The annual event, which is co-hosted by Massey University and the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, is now in its fourth year and has become a key business event.
Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey welcomed guests, saying Finance 2013 represented a partnership between Auckland business and Massey knowledge that had an important role to play in generating economic growth for New Zealand. Increasingly, Massey was engaging in conversations with business groups, local and central government and communities to find solutions to social and economic challenges, he said.
Mr English acknowledged the efforts the university and the chamber have made to build closer relationships between businesspeople and academics.
“We’re a country where there isn’t enough interchange between business, academia and politics,” he said. “Massey has made an outstanding effort with this kind of event and in other high profile ways of connecting with its communities.”
Mr English used his speech to outline the government’s plan to grow the New Zealand economy including investments in roads, rail and ultra-fast broadband, as well as 14,000 new apprenticeships, and the Christchurch rebuild. He expressed the government’s desire to push on with the sale of minority shareholdings in its energy companies and Air New Zealand – the Supreme Court decision on Maori water rights was pending at the time of the speech.
He also discussed the Reserve Bank’s upcoming public consultation on new tools to create financial stability. These included the policy of Open Bank Resolution (OBR), a mechanism designed to quickly spread the losses of a failing bank across shareholders and creditors.
“This is an important mechanism, and will reduce the likelihood of taxpayers having to bail out a failing bank,” Mr English said. “In my view, we should do as much as we can to reduce these risks to taxpayers, and hand more of the costs and incentives back to the financial system. Banks and other lenders will then take more care if they face all the consequences of their decisions.”
Associate Professor David Tripe, director of Massey University’s Centre for Financial Services and Markets, used the question time to ask the Finance Minister if the Government had fully considered the impact of OBR on small depositors.
“When we look at what other countries are doing, they are considering some sort of protection for bank creditors, including depositor insurance…and depositor preference so depositors get paid out in advance of other bank creditors,” Dr Tripe said.
At the conclusion of the event chamber board member Ted van Arkel thanked the guests for attending and announced: “As a result of the Finance 2013 partnership, the Auckland Chamber of Commerce will be presenting $1000 awards for the top finance and economics first-year students for this academic year in Albany. A great incentive for any student to succeed.”