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Coronavirus – What does it mean for NZ Business?

Paul Keane
Fashion Week COVID-19

I have been in Australia for a few days reviewing a retail opportunity. The time here has given me the opportunity to consider the impact of the anticipated Coronavirus on business activities.

It is ironic that my last opinion piece just reflected on Holiday retail activities, little did I know that a few weeks later we would be riddled with paranoia over a potential flu pandemic.

You really wouldn’t know at either Auckland or Brisbane airports that a pandemic was on the cards.  Exit and entry at both was pretty low key with just a few people wearing masks.  However, the giant upsurge in hysterical buying in supermarkets of basics like hand sanitisers and toilet paper in both countries is in my view hysteria at its worst.

The simple art of washing hands to prevent germs must have been a lost art and only recently identified by a significant number of people, judging by the mass buying.

I have been fortunate (or unfortunate depending on your point of view) to have survived the polio epidemic of the 50s, the bird flu, the SARS virus, HIV, the share market crash, and the global financial crisis, to name a few. All of these had their own particular danger levels exposed.  But we all survived!!!  

So what does this latest virus potentially do for business?

The Tourism business is being impacted, some people will lose their jobs and across the board incomes will be impacted. How long that impact will last will depend on the ongoing level of paranoia. Certainly the official cash rate will see some cuts and with it mortgage rates will be at an all-time low.  However, with less certainty in employment, consumers are likely to retreat from being exposed financially.  Bank term investment rates will be at a similar all time low and as a consequence our senior population will reduce spending as a precaution.

The impact therefore on business generally, and particularly retail, is likely to be negative.  What a great pity that social media and the wider media has favoured all the negatives with regard to this potential flu virus. Death rates are reported rather than survival rates and the only people “rubbing their hands together “ (pun) will be manufactures of hand cleansers and toilet paper.  Hopefully their appetites will be short lived.

Sensible and logical approaches to this virus will defeat it. Not mass hysteria. Looking to the past and how we as a people defeated negatives can still be applied today.


Epsom Girls Grammar - L Block Opens

RCG have crafted Epsom Girls Grammars' first Innovative Learning Environment, to bring the school into the new decade. This opened last week with a ceremony on site, to mark the occasion. Have a look at the flythrough above of the space.

The extensive refurbishments incorporates the latest thinking in education with an existing 1970’s classroom block. The design features 7 flexible learning spaces with multiple breakout spaces of various sizes. In addition, 4 unique outdoor learning spaces were added to facilitate new modes of learning and refreshed the overall look of the building to make an architectural statement in the school grounds.

Congratulations to our client, and we wish them, and their students all the best in their new environment! 

In the Press

Local Media highlights from the past week...

Landlords sound alarm over 'unlawful acts' in tenancy law reform. Thousands of tenants living in Wellington social housing could pay less rent.

Landlords who do not respond to their tenants' written request for a change to the fixtures in their rental properties will have committed an unlawful act and be liable for a penalty of up to $1500 under planned new rules.


Thousands of tenants living in Wellington social housing could pay less rent.

About 3000 to 4000 people rent properties from Wellington City Council and if approved, roughly 2080 of those tenants could get up to a 40 per cent discount on the market rent depending on their income.


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