Public relations survey puts women at fore

Published in the National Business Review of 28 November 2008

The average PR practitioner is still a female graduate in her mid 30's working inhouse in either Auckland or Wellington and earning about $90 000 a year a biennial survey has found.

Vitality Research surveyed 734 practitioners (including over 200 non members) for the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ).

The survey shows that the trends identified in the previous survey in 2006 have continued and strengthened. The profession is becoming younger; more female dominated, and is increasingly a first career choice.

Is there a way back for Labour?

Published in the DominionPost of 19 November 2008

Now that the election is over, a new government has been formed, and a new opposition team has been settled, it's timely to ask whether there is a way back for Labour. The answer is yes, but it will not be simple or easy.

For Labour to win, three things need to happen. One is that National has to fail. Naturally John Key and his new Ministers will resist that to their utmost. But bad luck and adverse international events have thrown governments off course before, despite the talent and determination that the Ministers might bring to the Cabinet table.

Electoral law litigation likely to rise

Published in the National Busines Review of 15 August 2008

The Electoral Finance Act under an MMP system is likely to lead to much more action in the courts after the election than in previous elections, electoral law expert Hayden Wilson of legal firm Kensington Swan predicts.

"The result of the election could even turn on the decisions of the Electoral Court if there were litigation arising out of the results in certain critical seats," he said

Electoral petitions in previous elections have not affected the overall outcome of an election, as the impact had been confined to just one electorate seat in each case. That changes under MMP.

ETS critics point to Australia for solution

Published in the National Busines Review of 15 August 2008

Critics and commentators in the debate over Labour's emissions trading scheme are drawing a contrast between the way the New Zealand and Australian governments have handled the issue.

The Australian government under Labour Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is said to have a more pro-active approach to sharing information with the public and to have done more effective work on the impact of an emission trading scheme on its economy.

Catherine Beard of the business lobby group, the Greenhouse Policy ETS Coalition, said Australian Ministers had been frank about the climate change policy being the biggest shift in economic policy since the dismantling of tariffs.

Export education reaches $2.4B

Published in the National Business Review of 8 August 2008

The economic impact of export education has increased despite a fall in the number of students studying in New Zealand, an Infometrics report says.

The report, which is being released today at the Education New Zealand's annual conference says "over 2007/08 the export education industry generated around $2.4 billion of foreign exchange, of which $70 million came from offshore provision."

Education New Zealand Chief Executive Robert Stevens says the research "demonstrated unequivocally that foreign students and other education service exports are a reliable and welcome source of earnings in today's hyper-competitive global marketplace."

Disclosure and pictures features of best annual reports

This year's crop of the best annual reports are strong on disclosure, demonstrating performance against results and governance and they use lots of pictures to retain readers' interest.

They are also large documents. The best - from Wellington City Council - is a monster at 204 pages, including 90 pages of financials and notes to the accounts.

The judges of the Institute of Chartered Accountants annual reports awards said that the overall quality of entrants has improved markedly compared to previous years. The number of entries was also up "significantly" although the Institute would not disclose actual numbers.

Best annual reports

Published in the National Business Review of 18 July 2008

Wellington City Council has won the top award for its annual report for the second year in a row, and The New Zealand Refining Company has the best annual report for a large corporate.

The annual report awards were organised by the NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants which would not disclose the number of entries saying it would be "inappropriate" to do so.

Talent tests managers to do better

Published in the National Business Review of 4 July 2008

Managing talent has a high priority in most organisations but the senior managers say they don't know how to do it well, an international survey has revealed.

The findings come from a study by Development Dimensions International, the research arm of the Sheffield organisation working with the Economist Intelligence Unit.

DDI senior vice president David Tessman-Keys presented the findings to business leaders in Auckland and Wellington.

Genesis boss sceptical on wind and carbon charges

Published in the National Business Review of 4 July 2008

Genesis Energy's departing Chief Executive Murray Jackson has taken a few more whacks at the government's energy policy particularly the cost of the government's emissions trading scheme to customers.

He claims the scheme will cost Genesis $100 million a year to purchase carbon credits, a move he said would only add to the profits of rival generators.

As Genesis raised its prices to pass on the cost of carbon credits other generators less reliant on thermal fuels would be able to raise their prices as well and thereby gain windfall profits at the customers' expense.

The price of electricity goes up and "my competitors get the benefit," he said.

Whatever the problem; regulation is the solution.

Why do we have so many regulations in modern societies? And why is there always someone calling for more in response to a wide range of issues and situations.

The chair of Australia's Productivity Commission Gary Banks has an explanation.

Speaking in Wellington this week he told how an imaginary accident involving a child's outdoor toy could quickly escalate to a new regulation.

The incident might be an isolated one, but a media beat-up could senasationalise the injuries and the danger to others.

The political opposition and other groups would call for government action. The government, wanting to allay public concern and to look like a caring and responsible government, would look around for a fix.