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NZ needs fintech to tackle big 2020 problems

By Shannon Williams, Fri 31 Jan 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Financial technology needs to be utlised in order to tackle big problems such as climate change and digital literacy in 2020, according to FintechNZ. 

FintechNZ general manager James Brown says applying fintech to New Zealand's key issues will help New Zealand on an incredible journey and make this a 'decade to remember, before time runs out.'

"We should do some research into how fintech can help the New Zealand economy for the benefit of all New Zealanders," says Brown.

"When companies are looking to scale up they generally need to go offshore to find investment and sometimes they don't come back so we lose them to other markets," he explains.

"Across our three super funds we only invest nine percent in the New Zealand market. Let's increase that to 10 percent and give the one percent to the tech sector, which will resolve all our funding problems," Brown says. 

"This will also tackle climate change by investing in more sustainable technology which is less harmful for the environment," he adds.

Brown says Kiwi companies will remain in New Zealand for longer to develop their product or solution. "We could attract more talent because we are No.1 in the world for ease of doing business," he notes.

"We are second on the global CPI index for least corruption. New Zealand is a beautiful place to live, crime is low and above all we have regulators who are listening and willing to support innovation," says Brown.

Brown says with 2020 the beginning of a new decade, with it comes a lot of uncertainty . "Such as the US - China trade war, Brexit is still far from being done and now we have our own election later this year, not to mention the Coronavirus which some would say has similarities to SARS especially around travel and overall confidence," he explains.

"The Reserve Bank assistant governor Christian Hawkesby has just set out the framework the bank used to analyse the global economy and its influence on New Zealand.

"During the last decade we have seen investment in technology around the world, some countries and cities do this very well," says Brown.

"However, when you look at the figures from the OECD, New Zealand is lagging behind and I wonder if this has an impact on the way we think about tech, especially fintech," he adds.

"When you look at our productivity levels, they are lower than other OECD countries, with the introduction of meatless meat and unemployment around 4.2 percent, how do we expect to create an increase in productivity," Browns asks.

"In years gone by, our geographical location was a barrier. Today, with low barriers to entry and time zone, we actually can use this to our advantage," he states.

"The UK wants to achieve a gold standard with the first post Brexit free trade agreement with New Zealand. We should look to having measures and guidelines in there that will promote the two-way flow of capital, technology and talent to help drive both our economies."

Brown says the recent infrastructure announcement by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is a welcome one, as New Zealand is 'in desperate need of updating, substandard rail and road networks and investment in government technology has not allowed them to adopt machine learning or AI as fast as other countries'.

"The one big disappointment for the tech industry, which contributes over $16.5 billion towards GDP and a four percent increase in productivity was no major support for the tech sector and in particular the fintech sector," he says. 

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