My blog last week highlighted the growth disparities in the retail and distributive trades between Australia and New Zealand, with NZ growing and Australia shrinking slowly, or flatlining at best.
I pointed out that our post-resources boom is slowing, ironically “drag-assisted” by increased Australian federal government legislation and mandated cost increases over the past four years.
At that point, I called jobs growth “anaemic” and during the week it became clear that unemployment had actually risen by 0.1%. Whilst I was talking about how we could learn from NZ in terms of legislating to support growth in retail and distribution, the blog drew some interesting posts. One came from David who commented:
“We moved our customer support to NZ last year – best thing we ever did. They have a relaxed lifestyle, fishing, sailing, less traffic, less hassle, virtually no red tape. Management volunteered to relocate this year, so we did it.”
I can’t reach out to David, but will assume he is part of the leadership team of an Australian company supplying Australian retail. I am also assuming that his company doesn’t run factories here, but imports to sell to retail. Whilst I’d make a poor detective, humour me in my two assumptions, and accept the logic.
If that’s the case you have to wonder why there is any need to run an Australian supplier to retailers out of Australia. Call centres, management teams and expert functions like finance, IT and HR can all be run out of Auckland. The sun rises earlier than our east coast with regular morning flights into Sydney and Melbourne, home to 80% of the retail buying offices in Australia. NZ has significantly lower rents, lower personal income tax rates, lower cost of living, no capital gains tax at all, and has a two hour longer “working window” with North America.
Now, I have many times joked with the MD who runs CROSSMARK’s growing NZ business (at almost 450 people now) that the greatest competitor for his job is not another Kiwi MD, but me! Having read Dave’s response, I might see if my Exec Team wants to relocate with me!
CROSSMARK CEO Kevin Moore looks at the world of retailing from grocery to pharmacy, bottle shops to car dealers, corner store to department stores.