Global Insights – February 2023
Our Kea Regional Directors give on-the-ground insights into what is happening in their region and the opportunities this presents for New Zealand export businesses.
This month the Super Bowl season came to a close for another year, and the half time show – which was watched by 112.3 million people featured some Kiwi inspiration. New Zealand dance star and Kea World Class New Zealander Parris Goebel choreographed the halftime show which was performed by superstar Rihanna. The spectacular performance confirmed why Parris is considered one of the best in the business. There is vast opportunity in the US for our creative sector; like any business, planning, and connection play a key role in success. New York is home to many NZ artists, musicians, opera singers, fashion designers, performing artists, and filmmakers.
It has been a quiet start to the month as the US economy has continued to twist and turn post-pandemic recovery. However economic commentators are now offering a more positive outlook around a possible recession this year, but are still advising people to tread with caution as they plan for the year ahead.
As we see more and more airlines come back up to full capacity there has been an excellent article published in the New York Times, singing the praises of New Zealand’s South Island and in particular the wonderful food and wine on offer. This is sure to conjure up interest from Americans looking to get back out and travel this year and is of course excellent news for our tourism sector.
Gary Fortune, Kea North America Regional Director
UK and Europe
This month the headlines have been dominated by the devastating earthquakes which struck Turkey and Syria killing tens of thousands and displacing many more. The European & UK community has given aid and support to the regions and at this time we think of our New Zealand Inc Partners and those from our community who have made their homes, families and lives in Turkey and Syria, as well as our New Zealand exporting community who work closely with these markets.
Although far from home, this month we marked the signing of the Te Tiriti o Waitangi – Treaty of Waitangi. In London, the NZ Society hosted the Waitangi Day Church Service and also The Waitangi Day Charity Ball, where 300 kiwi and friends of New Zealand joined together to celebrate the strong ties between the UK and New Zealand. Newly appointed New Zealand High Commissioner HE. Phil Goff, announced the U.K. New Zealander of the Year Award, an award that recognizes the achievements of New Zealanders living and working in the United Kingdom.
Kea World Class New Zealander, Craig Fenton won the award for his outstanding career within the tech sector. Craig has been crucial in leading and shaping the operations and strategies for the organisations that he is involved with both professionally and personally. He also offers time, insights, connections and support for fellow Kiwi, Kiwi exporters and businesses, especially those that work across the U.K., Ireland and European markets.
Next month we look ahead to sharing updates on the Youth Mobility Visa schemes and the ongoing free trade ratification process. These changes will provide additional opportunities for businesses in the future and the movement of people between both nations.
Sara Fogarty, Kea UK/Europe Regional Director
With the Lantern Festival sealing the Chinese New Year festival season in early Feb, China is officially heading to the year with speedy force. While 2022 saw weaker than forecasted economic performance, a recorded 3% GDP growth, it is estimated that China’s GDP growth will reach 4 – 6% in the year of Rabbit, which is consistent with the pre-pandemic trend line.
With the lifting of the Zero-covid strategy, the week-long Chinese New Year break resulted in a huge domestic consumption performance. 308 million domestic tourism trips were made during this holiday period, an increase of 23.1% year-on-year. The actual number of passenger flights operated on international and regional routes during the Chinese New Year holiday was 2,048, an increase of 144.39% year-on-year. Since the National Immigration Administration of China resumed the passport approval service for Chinese nationals, overseas visa service searches have increased 300% instantly. As one the most popular travel destinations, it is estimated that New Zealand will receive a large number of Chinese tourists. Hence, the New Zealand tourism industry will boom in 2023. Yes, the Chinese consumers are back in the market!
As for New Zealand brands operating in China, there are continued trends towards buying healthy products from Covid-conscious consumers. Many kiwi companies expressed optimism for China’s economy in 2023. They expect demand for premium food and beverage products to pick up quickly. Business travel is back on the agenda for many companies as a result of China ending on-arrival quarantine in 2023.
As a Chinese saying goes：The whole year is planned for in the Spring. As the very first Chinese solar term “Spring Commences” arrived on 4 Feb, it is foreseeable that 2023 will be an exciting and refreshing year ahead.
Rebecca Bao, China Regional Director
This February much of the Government’s focus has been on helping those affected by adverse weather events across much of the North Island, first the flash flooding which affected many homes and businesses in Auckland and then the effects of Cyclone Gabrielle, which saw a National State of Emergency declared for only the third time in the country’s history. A range of financial measures have been announced including an initial $4 million to help farmers, growers, whenua Māori owners and rural communities mobilise and co-ordinate recovery efforts from Cyclone Gabrielle and an $11.5 million community support package. Finance Minister Grant Robertson said Cyclone Gabrielle would have a “multi-billion dollar price tag” and that the amount of new money planned for this year’s budget was being reassessed. The full extent of the effects of these two weather events will take some time to be fully understood.
This month we also saw new Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese hold their first bilateral meeting in Canberra. It was the Prime Minister’s first overseas visit since he took office, and focused on cooperation and engagement in the Pacific region. New Zealand and Australia working together is of particular importance to support our joint Pacific partners that are facing a complex and growing array of challenges, including climate change and security.
In welcome news for Kiwi investors, New Zealand has been granted excepted foreign state investor status from the United States, making it easier for New Zealand investors to invest in the US and deepening ties with our third largest export partner. New Zealand joins three other nations that hold this status: Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. New Zealand firms developing critical technologies or dealing with critical infrastructure such as renewable energy will benefit the most from this status, which also makes it easier for government investment funds such as the NZ Super Fund to invest in the US in desirable areas such as green technologies.
Saya Wahrlich, Global Director, Government & Industry
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