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Learning from New Zealand’s frontier firms

By Institute of Directors
5 May 2020
Chair and desk

The Productivity Commission’s latest issues paper New Zealand firms: reaching for the frontier outlines its inquiry into New Zealand’s most productive firms. The commission’s inquiry will consider, among other things, what are the drivers of innovation and productivity in New Zealand, and how can the productivity gap with non-frontier firms be closed. Critical questions in the report include:

  • Are New Zealand firms ambitious about growing and scaling up?
  • How do New Zealand’s frontier firms learn about, adapt and adopt cutting edge technologies and practices?
  • How do different types of corporate form and ownership structure affect firms’ incentives to innovate, grow and internationalise?

Governance is also a key consideration. The issues paper cites Always on duty – the future board (by IoD and MinterEllisonRuddWatts) and asks what are the pros and cons of the standard corporate governance model for stimulating business growth, innovation and productivity?

The commission’s inquiry will also investigate the economic contribution of Māori frontier firms. This will include looking at what challenges/constraints and what resources/opportunities are unique or greater for Māori firms at the frontier. And the commission is particularly interested in the ways in which non-Māori frontier firms may be able to learn from Māori frontier firms.

Submissions are due to the Productivity Commission by 1 September 2020. A draft report will be publicly released in November and a final report will be delivered to the government by 31 March 2021.

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