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.


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.


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 sorted.org.nz 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.


Looking forward to a classic "middle child" budget:
five minutes on the 2013 Budget Policy Statement and Half Yearly Economic and Fiscal Update

[18 December 2012]

The Minister of Finance and the Treasury released two key documents that signal the direction the economy and Government will take over the next few years. The Budget Policy Statement (BPS) signals the Government’s strategic intentions for Budget 2013 and outlines the most important opportunities, constraints and challenges.


Stop and smell the coffee - GST on late fees is coming

[11 July 2012]

"GST is further changing and New Zealand businesses need to prepare now," is the message from PwC GST Partner Eugen Trombitas. Mr Trombitas warns businesses of the importance and impacts of the Government's changes to GST and how it will affect them.


GST one of our best exports

[28 January 2012]

The saying goes "imitation is the best form of flattery" and it is certainly the case when it comes to the European Commission announcing a new Value Added Tax (VAT) strategy in the European Commission’s "Communication on the Future of European VAT" released in December.


Tentacles of cybercrime a real threat to blase NZ businesses

[January 2012]

Last year was 12 months of fraud, espionage, online warfare, hacktivism and other evils: Businesses have never felt so vulnerable to attack. New Zealand enterprises now face a real threat to their reputations, profits and futures - cybercrime.

This country - previously considered a relatively safe haven - has seen an unprecedented rise in the number of crimes committed using computers and the internet.


Glut of business sales in pipeline

[2 January 2012]

In the next five years more than 40% of New Zealand's small and medium-sized businesses will come on to the market as baby boomers seek to cash out and retire.

With small businesses making up 97% of all New Zealand enterprises, this represents a significant number of business sales and a boom for would-be business owners. But, what does this mean for sellers? In the minds of many soon-to-be retirees, a picture of retirement happiness is likely to be something that resembles a permanent summer break provided for by a lifetime's worth of hard work invested in their former business. Yet for most, this vision of family time spent by the bach could likely be shattered when the business value is tested on the open market.


Whacking high earners won't ease pain

[29 December 2011]

The growing gap between New Zealand's rich and poor has had a lot of media attention in recent years.

Or maybe it's just the general election was this year, and "the haves" and "the have nots" are always a popular topic for politicians. No matter which side of the political fence they sit on, the main message is always clear, each promises to do its bit to reduce inequality, based on their perception of the issue.


Let’s start 2012 by refocusing our region’s businesses

[21 December 2011]

For many in Taranaki’s business community, 2011 won’t be remembered with any fondness. It’s been a tough year for our business leaders and if we’re smart, we’ll take a cautious approach and position our businesses for the rough ride to continue in the months ahead. Yet, let’s reflect back and learn from the experiences of the past and re-evaluate our business strategies and plans to fit with a turbulent economy.


A new GST era for land transactions from 1 April 2011

[22 March 2011]

From 1 April 2011 most sales of land (and buildings) between GST-registered persons will be zero-rated for GST purposes under new rules referred to as compulsory zero-rating (CZR) of land transactions.