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New Zealand China Council
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Counting the cost of Coronavirus

March 18, 2020

Our Executive Director Rachel Maidment recently joined a webinar panel discussion organised by the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. The discussion aimed to inform the Kiwi business and finance community about the current and potential financial and social impact of the COVID-19 in New Zealand. Fellow panellists include Business NZ Chief Executive Kirk Hope, ANZ Senior Economist Liz Kendall, International Business and Strategy Professor from Victoria University of Wellington Siah Hwee Ang, and former Chair of Tourism NZ Dame Kerry Prendergast.

Whilst the situation has already moved on somewhat, there were some interesting insights. Discussing the need to diversify, panellists agreed that  our businesses needed a wide range of partners.  Rachel noted, however, that since China was the number one trading partner for more than 120 countries, and New Zealand and China’s goods and services were highly complementary, China would continue to be a crucial partner.

Mentioning the social impact of the COVID-19, Rachel emphasized the need to call out discrimination. This is time for compassion, and we should leave no room for xenophobia.

In addition, Rachel noted the added resilience provided to China’s economy by its sophisticated digital infrastructure. This had enabled people to work from home and students to continue their learning. China has the world’s most advanced mobile-payment systems and a highly developed e-commerce market.

Other panellists noted practical actions that businesses can take during this challenging period.  The full panel discussion can be viewed here.

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