Contrary to popular opinion, major commercial banks operating in the country do not transfer their profits overseas, BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly said.
“Banks such as ANZ, ASB, BNZ and Westpac are New Zealand owned entities and are our growth partners. Each of them has been in the country for more than 100 years,” he said during a question and answer session of the Indian Newslink Sir Anand Satyanand Lecture held at Stamford Plaza Hotel in Auckland on July 30.
Answering a question raised by NZ First Leader Winston Peters, he said that these banks had weathered through the global financial crisis, building the confidence of New Zealanders.
Mr Peters asked why the mortgage rates charged by commercial banks in New Zealand were far higher when compared with those in Europe, US and Japan.
According to Mr O’Reilly, the mortgage rates were dependent on the state of the economy and the forces of demand and supply.
Green Party Co-Leader Russel Norman said that government policies should support growth and development of small enterprises, and asked if Mr O’Reilly was satisfied with their current state of affairs.
“While I do not criticise the functioning of smaller companies, I would like them to function at their optimum level. We must promote private ownership of enterprises. New Zealand has shown the world how cooperatives can run successfully,” he said and cited Fonterra, Foodstuffs, Mitre 10 and Paper Plus as popular examples.
Former Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand, in whose name the annual Lecture series has been established, asked Mr O’Reilly if he would advocate a ‘Minister for Corporate Advancement.’
Mr O’Reilly said, “I would not suggest such a ministry, because we should be cautious and careful about creating more ministers, bureaucrats and administrative machinery. The important thing is to promote quality, sustainability and good governance.,” he said.
Feroz Ali, Chief Executive of New Zealand Career College asked how New Zealand can bring together Indians, Pacific Islanders and other minority groups into the scheme of Good Governance.
Mr O’Reilly said, “I would like to see a person of Indian ethnicity as the Chief Executive of Air New Zealand, Telecom and such large companies. I hate ghettos, but expect quality and merit as overriding factors. This is a process in which everyone should be involved. We must identify skilled and non-skilled workers at all levels and promote their advancement.”
Barrister Brian Stephenson was the Master of Ceremonies at the Lecture, which was attended by Sir Anand, Lady Susan Satyanand, India’s High Commissioner Avanindra Kumar Pandey, Members of Parliament Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Dr Jackie Blue (National), Dr Rajen Prasad (Labour), Winston Peters (New Zealand First), Russel Norman and Julie Ann Genter (Green), Manukau District Court Judge Ajit Singh, members of the legal profession and business leaders.