New Zealand Economics Forum brings together decision makers to drive action

1 March 2023

Pro Vice-Chancellor - Waikato Management School Matt Bolger says the NZ Economics Forum provides an opportunity to robustly debate the big decisions supporting sustainable growth, productivity and wellbeing for all of Aotearoa New Zealand.

The University of Waikato is proud to host the annual New Zealand Economics Forum, which returns as an in-person event at its Hamilton Campus Thursday 2 and Friday 3 March 2023.

Following the devastation left in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle, the Forum provides timely discussions on the big topics affecting New Zealand’s economy such as rebuilding infrastructure and our response to climate change, through to nurturing international relations in a volatile global market and the co-governance debate in an Election year.

Now in its third year, the Forum is the annual event that brings together an outstanding line-up of top economists, business, Māori and community leaders, and public sector policymakers to discuss pressing socio-economic challenges and opportunities facing our country today, providing the platform for policy to be turned into action.

“We are at a pivotal point in our history, rebuilding from the largest severe weather event in living memory while navigating a volatile economic landscape, inflation and a potential recession,” Pro Vice-Chancellor - Waikato Management School Matt Bolger says. “And all of this is happening alongside an uncertain global outlook that is constantly flexing to the impacts of the war in Ukraine and the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic."

Opening keynote speaker, the National Party’s Deputy Leader and Finance Spokesperson Nicola Willis, will set the tone for the day with a presentation exploring the economic challenges facing our country during an election year, discussing her party’s proposals to address the cost-of-living crisis and help unlock economic growth to support a stronger economy.

Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr will open day two. The conversation on monetary policy will be continued by a panel of senior policy analysts and economists including Paul Conway, Cameron Bagrie and Christina Leung who will discuss the Reserve Bank’s report card of the last five years.

With the impacts of climate change front of mind, Malcolm Johns, Tanira Kingi and IAG’s Amanda Whiting will lead an important discussion on how we can sustain out natural environment while navigating the path to Net Zero. Former Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson will also lead a discussion on the debate over co-governance, joined by Parekawhia Mclean and Jason Mika to discuss what the future looks like for Crown-Māori relations.

A robust discussion on infrastructure will be had between a panel representing the views of businesses, local government, developers and economists, with Auckland Chamber CEO Simon Bridges, Rotorua Mayor Tania Tapsell, Winton CEO Chris Meehan and economist Brad Olsen discussing the immediate challenges we face, as well as the potential long-term consequences of the decisions we make today.

There will also be discussion on the importance of political interactions between China and the West in the 2020s, where attendees will hear from Charles Finny, John McKinnon and Fran O’Sullivan – bringing unique insights on what this means for government, foreign affairs and business alike.

“While it feels currently like we are sailing heavy seas, The University of Waikato is excited to provide an opportunity to enable robust debate and discussion on the big decisions that must be made if we are going to be able to support sustainable growth, productivity and wellbeing for all of Aotearoa New Zealand,” Matt Bolger says.

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