The management of top tier law firms in New Zealand have warned next year’s election is not immune from global political shifts that have resulted in Trump and Brexit.
Commenting on the outlook for 2017, Simpson Grierson chairman Kevin Jaffe says the upcoming election could result in a slight slowdown in legal business for a few months.
However, Jaffe says the real question is how recent votes in the United States and United Kingdom will influence what happens locally at New Zealand’s ballot box next year.
“The rest of the world has had all this change and the push against the old guard and the political machine, so it’s hard to believe New Zealand is going to immune to that totally.”
“People may be saying we have had a three-term government here, and the question is what is that going to mean, when we have an opposition that doesn’t have great traction at the moment, is there going to be a more unsettled process during our election?”
MinterEllisonRuddWatts CEO Mike Schubert says the world is watching to see what the election of Donald Trump actually means and impact it will have globally.
“The impending exit of Britain from the EU is also an unknown factor and there seems to be a general feeling of unrest and uprising in the world,” Schubert says.
“What this will mean for New Zealand is uncertain, however we do have a strong foundation. New Zealand has it’s own election in 2017, and as we have seen recently, anything can happen in politics.”
Schubert says a potentially more restrictive US market could have direct consequences for New Zealand businesses and indirectly through New Zealand’s main trading partner China if US/China trade becomes more restricted.
DLA Piper country managing partner Martin Wiseman says that any downside risks to the world economy naturally weigh on New Zealand’s economy growth.
“The uncertainty that crept in during 2016 with the slowing-down of the Chinese economy, Brexit, and the Australian and American election will continue to unsettle the New Zealand economy, given that it is very export-driven,” he says.
Jaffe says the impact of President-elect Trump would be felt most in the area of trade, but lawyers will need to wait and see if the “reality will follow the rhetoric”.
“I don’t think the impact on our election will be dramatic, but New Zealand can’t be immune to the rest of the world,” he says.
However, managing partners are generally upbeat about prospects for 2017, despite the political risks that have been made apparent by recent overseas elections.
For example, Buddle Findlay chairman Peter Chemis says the economy is still going strong, with inflows of people and resources from offshore, and tourism in particular getting busier and bigger every year.
“We expect continued buoyancy in a number of sectors in line with general business optimism. It is hoped that the dairy sector can pick up after this year’s flat performance.”