Opinion pieces

PwC is committed to providing informed opinions and views on issues affecting businesses and industries in New Zealand. Here you'll find a list of current opinion pieces written by our experts.

Self-regulation in insolvency sector is a positive step

[01 April 2016]

Insolvency is a word that conjures up a range of emotions – most of them negative.

Insolvency practitioners are placed in a position of trust. Their job is to realise assets and pursue recoveries on behalf of an insolvent company’s creditors.


Exchange rate risk easing

[09 December 2015]

The NZ dollar plays an important part in the performance of our economy - including retail.

If the Kiwi dollar appreciates too rapidly or remains at elevated levels for prolonged periods against the US dollar, the incomes, profits and jobs in our key export industries suffer. On the other side of this, rapid depreciation of the NZ dollar leads to price increases on imported consumer goods and increases inflation.


Game of Threats lands in New Zealand

[02 December 2015]

How should you respond in the event of a cyber incident?

The best way to defend yourself is to know what you’re up against.

It’s the basis of our new gaming experience that we launched in New Zealand today – Game of Threats. This PwC interactive and immersive game allows participants to gain an understanding of cyber breaches from their perspective and that of an attacker by simulating the real world challenges through the experience.


Do New Zealand organisations know where their data is?

[18 November 2015]

As mobile devices, cloud services and partnering among organisations continue to rise, so does exposure to cyber threats and the number of places that data can be accessed and stored.

What’s concerning, however, is that many New Zealand organisations have adopted a piecemeal approach to security, according to our findings of the annual PwC Global State of Information Security Survey.


The future of retail, today

[November 2015]

Over the next several years, some very big forces will hit the retail industry.

New payment types and variable store footprints will change how and where goods are stored and sold. Data analytics tools like predictive modelling, simple, staff-based stock tracking apps, sensors and ‘always on’ digital technology will make it possible for consumers to interact with retailers in new ways. Retailers’ ability to adapt to these forces will affect customers’ perceptions of their brand for years to come.

So, where is the retail experience headed?


Why NZ CEOs need to champion digital

[12 November 2015]

How well digital thinking is integrated into business strategy is critical for the success of New Zealand organisations - and top executives are now realising this.

There are encouraging signs that organisations are investing more, and smarter, in digital. But our research shows that executive teams and their organisations will not get very far without a key element: the CEO must champion digital.


Ask the Experts: Scott McLiver on cloud accounting tools

[November 2015]

I've heard that cloud accounting tools are really helping businesses to be more effective.

How do I go about exploring this for my business?


3 ways councils can develop regions of opportunity

[08 November 2015]

Developing into regions of opportunity will take a collaborative effort by councils, central Government and businesses within the region.

A recent report from the New Zealand Initiative discusses the idea of using special regional economic zones in regions to boost foreign investment and assist new enterprises to start up. This cannot happen without the directive from central Government.

However, there are other things which councils can do now to help regional New Zealand, and the below steps may be a good place to start.


Scott McLiver: Smart thinking driving rapid pace of change

[04 November 2015]

Innovation less about technology than how it's being used, writes Scott McLiver.

Make no mistake, the world is changing. We keep hearing about disruption and how it is and will continue to transform the markets in which businesses operate. For centuries, technology has been replacing jobs done by human muscle and more recently those done by human brains. Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, algorithm-based software and big data are at the forefront of this.


Uber, digital and disruption: what’s happening and why does it work?

[October 2015]

Uber Technologies Inc, the world’s largest provider of personal transport has surely made it into the top 10 of water-cooler conversations.

Digital, technology and disruption are frequently used buzzwords when telling the Uber story.


Ask the Experts: Chris Leatham on non-executive directors

[October 2015]

I'm considering having a non-executive director on my board.

How could a non-executive director help my business?


Turning pain points into gain points: just do it!

[September 2015]

In my last article “Setting expectations: best practice or a cop out” I touched on turning customer pain points into ‘gain points’.

That is, turning the parts of a customer’s experience that annoys or frustrates them (and simultaneously driving cost and inefficiencies into your organisation) into delightful, satisfying and loyalty-driving encounters.


Ask the Experts: Chris Leatham on how to set up and protect your family trust

[September 2015]

We've recently sold our business, and we're holding the funds in a family trust.

How can we make sure these funds go to our children when we’re gone?


I’m a beacon. How are you?

[September 2015]

Imagine a customer entering your store and being instantly greeted with a personalised welcome message.

When we talk through this scenario with business leaders and customers alike, we tend to get two polarised responses. 1) That’s genius. 2) That’s creepy.

That is the rub when it comes to disruptive consumer technology.


Gareth Parry: Enemies of innovation

[9 August 2015]

The corporate immune system is a killer, writes Gareth Parry.

The corporate immune system can kill innovation. Corporate immune systems are the structures, processes, and culture of an organisation, and they work in the same way, defending against new and disruptive ideas, people, and methods. The system produces corporate antibodies too. These are the people who are charged with perpetuating existing ways of working.


Ask the Expert: Key things to remember during rapid business growth

[8 August 2015]

When your business starts to grow it is exciting, but can be a little scary. With growth comes new opportunities and also some challenges.

Decisions made at this stage can have a lasting impact on the success of the business and some of the top issues to consider include cash flow, banking arrangements, tax costs and having the right people to help you.


Gareth Parry: Disrupt the disrupters

[3 August 2015]

Pioritising customer experience can stop potential rivals in their tracks, writes Gareth Parry.

When did you last fumble around making a taxi payment? Or have no other choice but to stay in a crummy hotel room? Fresh-faced organisations like Uber, Airbnb, and Spotify are radically and rapidly transforming our lives for the better. Well, that is if you like movies, music, holidays, and being chauffeured.


Gareth Parry: Businesses need to keep it real

[26 July 2015]

Products need to give people a great experience, writes Gareth Parry.

Customers now reasonably expect that products and services will be fit for purpose, relevant for them and their needs, and are easy and enjoyable to use. In the old days, businesses made products for sale and convinced people to buy them. Those days are in the past.


Gareth Parry: Get to grips with customer experience

[19 July 2015]

Loyalty and recommendations follow a good experience, writes Gareth Parry.

Imagine you recently bought a shiny new fandangled thingymebob from a company, and you've had an astonishingly brilliant experience with it.

Giving thought to the customer experience will pay off in loyalty and recommendations.


The ageing elephant is an advantage

[13 July 2015]

An ageing population is one of the key megatrends affecting New Zealand, Australia and most other developed countries. Like most megatrends it's often viewed as a threat, an ageing elephant in the room.


Gareth Parry: Good customer experience wins

[12 July 2015]

Rid your business of the “experience debt”, writes Gareth Parry.

Take yourself back to the last time you had a really infuriating experience. Perhaps it involved travel. Or a faulty product. Or an online form, new gadget or you were simply trying to pay for a product or service.

Think about how that experience made you feel. Were you more or less likely to buy again? What did you tell your friends, family and social networks?


Four priorities for talent strategies in the digital age

[9 July 2015]

As New Zealand’s CEOs embark on their digital journeys – trying to keep up with growing customer expectations and nimble new market entrants – there is a key ingredient that many are finding to be the biggest challenge: the human capital requirement.


Essential elements to manage a cyber incident

[2 July 2015]

“It won’t happen to me”, continues to be the assumption of many New Zealand organisations when it comes to cyber security. This myth continues to linger and is the primary reason why many organisations have only implemented the bare minimum when it comes to security controls and stuck with a ‘prevention strategy’ assuming the technology can stop cyber incidents from happening.


Six areas that will ensure you’re ready for what’s next

[21 June 2015]

When I think about what success looks like for a New Zealand organisation, keeping up with customers and their demands is a much more challenging task than worrying about what competitors are doing.

Traditionally, competitors are the ones we can see. They are across the road and we can stare them down. But those are not the fearsome competitors of tomorrow. The fearsome competitors of tomorrow will be the ones who are digitally enabled and who you can’t see. Instead, they’re lurking in the digital shadows, ready to pounce on your customers when you can’t deliver.


A people strategy for the digital age

[15 June 2015]

One of the biggest challenges for CEOs is making sure they have the right people to cope with the future – a near impossible feat for the rapidly changing digital age. Across the Asia Pacific, the speed of change is reshaping the way we live and work and business strategies are undergoing a fundamental re-think.


Three reasons you should care about the 2015 Budget

[20 May 2015]

Both the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance have signalled no major surprises in this year’s Budget. Commentators are saying that New Zealand’s economy is slowing but the consensus is still that real GDP will grow between 2.5 to 3.0 per cent over the next few years. Measures of business confidence generally remain strong and – with the exception of the housing and construction markets – capacity and inflation pressures remain modest, all while interest rates remain low.

It’s an easy environment to be complacent – but the optimal time to take steps in future-proofing your business.


Online GST - What's all the noise about?

[12 May 2015]

The online GST issue is about paying GST on all online purchases from offshore sellers. Many of these purchases are not subject to GST. On 12 May a new proposed tax on digital products and services by offshore sellers to Australian consumers was announced in the Australian Federal Budget.


Leading Change

[May 2015]

The challenge for HR is to become advocates for change management and to embrace the science behind it, says James Spencer. He examines the role HR must play in ensuring proper change management frameworks are in place and organisations are well prepared for what's ahead.


Retail riot

[May 2015]

The retail environment has never been more complex.

Retailers are facing four waves of disruption according to findings from PwC's study, Total Retail 2015: Retailers and the Age of Disruption.

While e-commerce sales are growing every year, the store isn't dead yet. According to our survey, while 68 percent of our global sample say that they have browsed products at a store but decided to purchase them online, 70 percent said that they have done just the opposite; that is, browsed products online but decided to purchase them in-store.


Becoming data fit

[6 April 2015]

Spending on big data is soaring but Greg Doone urges us to spend the big bucks wisely.

The failure rate of large IT projects with budgets exceeding $1 million is almost 50 percent higher, so become data fit by learning how to utilise data through digestible, focused data projects is as valuable as big infrastructure projects.


People trump tech

[15 March 2015]

No matter how technology savvy and digitally connected the "Millennials" are painted, they are still human. People's core desires and needs have not changed, but what is changing is our expectations around how those needs are fulfilled. Businesses need to ensure they are servicing their clients' core needs.


Kiwi bosses more bullish

[12 March 2015]

New Zealand's “rock star" economy may be peaking but its chief executives remain more optimistic than Australian – and global – peers.


Big decisions need better analytics

[01 March 2015]

Such subtle changes are now rife within retail. The opportunities in showrooming and mobile searches, digital cross-selling and omni-channel integration highlight that retailers cannot rely on historical shopping behaviours alone to make strategic decisions for their businesses anymore. Your consumers are increasingly expecting a more personalised, digital experience from you.

Making big decisions could change the course of your business and in this digitally disruptive environment, past experiences may not be good predictors of the future. With more data within your reach to understand what was previously unknown, analytical tools are available to "see" a wider range of possibilities and evaluate them quickly. So, if you haven't already - looking to data analytics to help improve your business' decision making capabilities should be your New Years' resolution.


Business breakthroughs are a team affair

[22 February 2015]

The threat of digital disruption has quickly become a serious topic among business leaders. It's a key theme for CEOs in PwC's 18th Annual Global CEO Survey, with well over 50 per cent of international and local CEOs pinpointing the speed of technological change as one of their big concerns.


Stop the online tax discount

[1 February 2015]

New Zealanders are increasingly shopping online, and international retail websites are gaining market share from their Kiwi counterparts.


Retail must move fast to the 'connected store'

[21 December 2014]

Traditional retail models face an unprecedented challenge, writes Greg Doone.

I sometimes picture a smoky room circa 1998 where the major New Zealand retailers made a secret pact not to invest in ecommerce. Anyone who has lived abroad in the last 10 years will bemoan New Zealand's lack of online shopping options.


A Super reboot is fairer for the next generation

[14 December 2014]

The Government should consider prefunding health costs, writes Geof Nightingale.

Snowballing costs for health and pensions will result from New Zealand's ageing population and this ageing demographic is driving Treasury's alarming long-term forecast - by 2060 there will be up to 6 per cent or more of GDP deficit between tax collected and government expenditure.


Financial literacy - an organisation's responsibility?

December 2014

Financial management tools, such as and smart banking solutions, have become common in many households across New Zealand.

While the uptake in these tools is encouraging, many New Zealanders are still in the dark as to where to begin their financial journeys.

This is where companies and other organisations can step in to fill the knowledge gapsand many already have, putting the workplace at centre stage.


Keeping Inland Revenue match-fit

[23 November 2014]

A briefing for the incoming revenue minister is not light reading, but it is important, writes Geof Nightingale.

The Briefings to Incoming Ministers (BIMs) delivered recently are not something most people would usually get excited about. But the Inland Revenue's briefing to reappointed Revenue Minister Todd McClay had plenty of substance.


Opportunity knocks for IT businesses

[2 November 2014]

Kiwi technology firms can look forward to a lot of work out of Inland Revenue's transformation, writes Geof Nightingale.

Inland Revenue have recently been criticised for shutting out New Zealand IT businesses by appointing Dublin-based consultancy Accenture. The company was announced as IR's preferred partner for the initial design stage of its major transformation project that some have estimated could cost about $1.5 billion over the next 10 years.


Building customer trust

[1 November 2014]

The privacy of information is an urgent issue for both consumers and businesses, writes Adrian van Hest.

With each high-profile breach that makes the headlines, customers increasingly worry whether their personal information is protected and being used appropriately. Businesses are also on notice: Recent disclosures about government and corporate practices have pushed privacy to the forefront. But,amidst the growing scrutiny,are business leaders looking at the glass half empty?


Cyber security needs more action, not just talk

[12 October 2014]

The number of attacks is soaring but Kiwis are not working hard enough to reduce the risks, writes Adrian van Hest.

As the world continues to move in a digital direction, with an ever-increasing push to do everything online, we see a corresponding rise in cyber security and privacy incidents that New Zealand organisations need to address.


A tax on capital is coming

[21 September 2014]

Make no mistake, this issue is not going away, writes Geof Nightingale.

Well, it's Sunday morning and no matter who forms the Government, a tax on capital is coming.


Ten game changers

[September 2014]

We have a problem. When it comes to innovation in technology, retailers in New Zealand are falling behind. Retailing is becoming increasingly globalised, with the proportion of offshore purchases compared to domestic on the rise and predicted to reach 44 per cent of all online retail by 2017.

Many businesses have not only adapted but are doing well in the digital environment, such as ASOS, harnessing new buyers through a combination of digital presence, social media prowess and partnerships with bricks and mortar outlets.


Chris Money: Unravelling the 'show me the money' numbers

[31 August 2014]

Opening the government's books can make or break a party's policies, writes Chris Money.

A couple of weeks ago, there was news every political party contesting this election was waiting for with bated breath previously confidential information that laid bare the results of a carefully managed strategy to manipulate the country's economy and government finances.


Geof Nightingale: Are we being over-taxed on our savings?

[10 August 2014]

Reducing taxes on savings can help build retirement nest eggs, writes Geof Nightingale.

Calls are mounting for the government to stop "over-taxing" New Zealanders' KiwiSavers and term deposits.

According to the Fair Tax for Savers campaign, the two million people in KiwiSaver and 750,000 term deposit holders are paying some of the highest taxes on savings in the world. Reducing these will help boost New Zealanders' retirement nest eggs.


4Ps: key to unlocking the China market

[29 July 2014]

China is a huge market with great potential but can also be very complex and expensive. From my experience, when people ask me how to be successful in the China market, I mention 4 ‘Ps’ - Planning, People, Patience, Profits.


Capital gains tax - how fair is it really?

[21 July 2014]

There are big flaws in Labour's capital gains tax, writes Geof Nightingale.

A capital gains tax is one of Labour's proposed elements for a good tax system and at its core is the intention of delivering equity and fairness for all New Zealanders.

Yet, if implemented as it is currently promised, would it really deliver fairness? Well, no, not completely.


The fast way to becoming a digital front runner

[02 July 2014]

Many insurance businesses worldwide are scrambling to keep pace with the increasing impact of digital in their marketplace, yet the ways in which they’re responding are too slow. Far from just being another channel, the impact of digital is rapidly transforming what customers expect and creating new opportunities for growth.


Generation Y: monopolising the retail landscape

[02 July 2014]

It is widely accepted that the speed in which technology advances are happening in an increasingly digital world is the biggest challenge facing business. However, rather than viewing this change with impending doom, most New Zealand CEOs are choosing to really begin to think about their Business strategy in Digital terms and develop strategies to transform their businesses for the future.


Tax compliance reflects Kiwi belief in fairness

[29 June 2014]

Penalties are only part of the story as to why people pay tax and why it matters, writes Geof Nightingale.


20 exceptions to tax record confidentiality

[8 June 2014]

We give the IRD personal information so they can assess our tax but how secret are those details? writes Geof Nightingale.


China vital to export growth plan

[28 May 2014]

New Zealand must keep its eye on the competition in a market with an urban population of 500 million.

China is now New Zealand's largest trading partner and expansion of economic links with this country will be vital to the New Zealand Government's goal of increasing by 10 percentage points the share of GDP in exports - from 30 per cent to 40 per cent by 2025.

So, let's look at the global financial outlook for our primary industry.


Beware the powers of the tax man

[18 May 2014]

When IRD asks about your own or anybody else’s tax affairs, chances are you have to answer, writes Richard Scoular.


Rogers Comments

[29 April 2014]

PwC Partner and Treasury Management Lead Roger Kerr provides New Zealand interest rate and NZD market commentary.


Tax policies: who are the winners and losers?

[20 April 2014]

A change in government in September would shake up taxes, writes Geof Nightingale. There's no win-win situation when it comes to designing a tax system. One person's tax break or government assistance is funded by another person's tax payment or tax increase. Making those judgements about who gets and who pays is the tough job we give our politicians. And, as we head into this year's election, one of the decisions voters will be faced with is different tax policy choices.


The Tax Department of the future

[30 March 2014]

Through major business process and technology changes, a world-class tax and social support system is on the horizon. Inland Revenue, the government department that touches almost all Kiwi’s most of the time, is two years into its Transformation Project, a long-term plan to modernize the way that it engages with us.


My favourite retailers are everywhere

[14 March 2014]

The face of retail continues to change rapidly as technology empowers consumers to reach for their wallets wherever they are. With the tap of a finger and increasing expectations, customers are driving change in the retail business model. How are you responding?


The 12 trends of Christmas: it’s digital December

[17 December 2013]

Our Kiwi retailers have been embracing digital change. This doesn’t mean they’re abandoning their High Street stores - simply designing the shopping experience around the needs of today’s tech savvy shoppers.


Tax-free overseas online shopping? Give our retailers a break

[31 October 2013]

Online shopping is changing the way we buy and sell, with Kiwi shoppers predicted to spend $3.65 billion this year. Yet, should it also change the way we collect sales tax on overseas purchases?


An encouraging first step to raising the bar on cybersecurity

[24 October 2013]

PwC Partner and cybersecurity specialist Colin Slater offers his perspectives on the US Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework.


Hope is hopeless in currency risk

[6 September 2013]

Partner Roger Kerr talks about the importance of implementing a currency hedging policy to help with the reducing the risk on variables that can materially hurt the financial performance of a business.


Clicks, bricks and dollars

[2 September 2013]

Your customer ought to be the beating heart of your business. And this heart beat now extends further than your digital strategy: you need a business strategy that’s fit for the digital age.


Earthquake strengthening expenditure: must and need to know

[31 August 2013]

Many property landlords feel the tax system is a disaster zone these days. The lack of tax deductions for earthquake strengthening costs only reinforces this view. So, what is the earthquake strengthening issue? Can no tax deductions be claimed? And how do investors make sure they aren’t on shaky ground with Inland Revenue?


Latest financial rules throw obstacles in criminals' way

[11 July 2013]

PwC Director and Forensic Services specialist Stephen Drain explains why banks, casinos, finance companies, lenders and other private companies whose activities fall within the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act have been given their marching orders: invest and comply with the new rules.

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