Global Insights – March 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.
The big news this month has been the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature bank, with authorities moving quickly to stabilise the banking system. The collapse of SVB sent shockwaves around the world, forcing tech investors and start-ups to check on their financial exposure at a time when many businesses were already having to lay off staff. New Zealand company Rocket Lab had around US$38 million ($62 million) or 7.9% of its cash with SVB and a number of other New Zealand tech companies were also tied up with the bank.
The damage to the banking sector has not been limited to the US, with Swiss bank UBS a week later agreeing to spend $3.25bn to rescue its rival Credit Suisse. Although some bank stocks had taken a beating, most experts agree that financial markets more broadly have taken the US bank collapses in their stride. What effect this will have long term are yet to be seen but
Elsewhere in the economy recent data and revisions point to inflation easing more slowly than previously expected, and stronger than predicted data from January data has led some economic experts to revise their Q1 GDP growth forecasts. However most agree that overall the economy will see a downturn this year.
NZ radio station ‘The Rock’ will be in town at the end of March, bringing their award-winning breakfast team to the city to broadcast back to NZ from non-other than the Rockefeller Center. The team has been busy connecting with New York-based Kiwi, so NZ listeners will enjoy a few surprises and a glimpse of what life is like for our kiwi explorers living in one of the world’s biggest cities.
Gary Fortune, Kea North America Regional Director
UK and Europe
Great news for those Kiwi heading to the UK on their OE and also Brits looking to explore and help with talent shortages at home and to enjoy New Zealand, with changes to the Youth Mobility Scheme / Working Holiday Visa. New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced that from July this year the visa increases to 3 years with age applications being extended to 35 years old. This also affects those already in market who will be able to apply for an extension to their two year visa. We look forward to welcoming those coming this way. More details and links can be found on our Kea Website or via the MFAT and New Zealand High Commission in London directly.
This month we have had a number of events around the UK including community meet ups in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Bath. A wonderful opportunity to catch up with those from our offshore community and to help build professional and personal connections. In London we have hosted our annual event with the NZ Business Women’s Network, which saw almost 70 members of our community come together to celebrate International Women’s Day and to discuss this year’s theme ‘embrace equity’. Our panel, which included Kea members Sarah Smart, Angela Kearns and Jo Manawa Fletcher and was moderated by the wonderful Mary Fenwick.
This month the New Zealand community in London will present the New Zealand Cyclone Relief Variety Show on the 31st March to raise money for those affected by cyclone Gabrielle. If you would like to support this event more details can be found on our events page.
Sara Fogarty, Kea UK/Europe Regional Director
March has always been a month to hold important meetings in China. From March 5 to 13, the 14th National People’s Congress was held in Beijing. The congress passed a series of new legislations as well as completing the election of new leaders. The national government set 5% of GDP growth as the target of 2023 which is welcomed by the international society. On March 15, China fully reopened visa systems to foreign visitors, including tourists after three years of border restrictions. China’s Embassy resumed issuing all categories of visas for foreigners with further relaxation. As a result, Kea in China has received growing visit requests from New Zealand entrepreneurs recently. Kea is ready to receive business and personal visits from New Zealand and will carry on making crucial business connections to help kiwi business strive.
The relaxing of restrictions has seen in person events take off in China. On March 8, Kea NZ co-hosted the IWD event with the International Professional Women’s Society (IPWS) in Shanghai. As a reflection of this year’s UN IWD topic “Embrace Equity”, the event topic focused on professional women’s psychological safety. The discussion covered personal and professional experiences, recommendations and advised action plans to serve the topic. This was followed by an enthusiastic networking session where people enjoyed meeting new friends and sharing a glass of Kiwi wine. We were also honoured to receive Mr. Ardi Barnard, the newly appointed Consul General of New Zealand in Shanghai, and Ms. Erina, Consular of New Zealand in Shanghai. On March 10, the first Kiwi drinks of 2023 saw 70ish kiwis and friends of New Zealand meet in downtown Shanghai. After such a long period of lockdowns and Covid restrictions it was lovely to get out and meet so many of our community at these two events.
Rebecca Bao, China Regional Director
This month the Government has been focused on Cyclone Gabrielle recovery, including a $26 million grant extension supporting growers and farmers to help protect future production. Cost of living has also been top of mind, with a second tranche of Government programmes being stopped or slowed to deliver $1 billion in savings which will be reallocated to support New Zealanders.
The Advanced Manufacturing Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) was launched this month. It is one of eight ITPs created to increase productivity and performance in key sectors of the economy and will strengthen regional New Zealand – including regions severely impacted by recent extreme weather. Advanced manufacturing accounts for 10% of our economy and jobs and 73.5% of goods exports. Almost half of these jobs are in regional New Zealand. The sector has significant untapped potential to increase productivity and high wage jobs, and to support New Zealand’s transition to a globally competitive, low emissions economy. The plan sets out how this transformation will take place by increasing innovation and productivity, and driving higher wages and living standards.
The new eagerly anticipated three year NZ UK Working Holiday Visas (WHV) will now be delivered earlier than expected, coming into force by July this year in time to support businesses through the global labour shortages. The improved WHV was successfully negotiated alongside the NZ UK Free trade Agreement in 2022 and will give more UK travellers open work rights in New Zealand for longer, and New Zealanders an extension to their OE. There are around 4,200 visa holders from the UK in New Zealand currently able to extend their right to remain and work for at least one year longer, and the annual cap will be extended to 15,000 visas per year. The extension in eligibility from 30 to 35 years was also celebrated by visa holders on both sides.
Finally, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta has made the first visit by a New Zealand Minister to China since 2019. The Minister is meeting with her counterpart Foreign Minister Qin Gang in Beijing and will discuss issues of commonality including trade, climate and environmental issues. China is New Zealand’s largest trading partner, and 2022 saw the celebration of fifty years of diplomatic relations between our two countries.
Saya Wahrlich, Global Director, Government & Industry
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