Author: Marg Joiner

SenateSHJ | Partner (Auckland)

The increased collisions between public and private sectors 

The public and private sector have always co-existed, but in recent times they seem to be more closely intertwined.  

I suggest that both need each other more than ever to achieve their respective goals. 

The public sector needs private sector cooperation to deliver its policies and services, while private sector companies are increasingly impacted by regulatory and legislative measures. 

Three recent examples come to mind: 

1. COVID-19 response 

Government decisions throughout the pandemic response plainly impacted the way businesses were run.   

Different sectors had different restrictions that determined whether and how businesses operated. Government wage subsidies supported nearly half of all jobs in New Zealand in 2021, and were critical in enabling some businesses to keep the lights on.   

At the same time, the compliance of businesses and citizens enabled the government to achieve its pandemic response goals.  

2. Climate change 

Governments are held to account on their performance in relation to climate change, but they can’t do it without private sector cooperation.  

New regulations will require around 200 of New Zealand’s biggest businesses to report their climate change risks from 2023, and the government’s climate change adaptation plan also has millions of dollars in implications for businesses. The price of carbon and growing concerns about “greenwashing” are also influencing business decisions and conduct. 

None of these are particularly new, but combined, they illustrate the tangible impact of public sector decisions in what is a high priority space. 

3. Intergenerational reform 

New Zealand’s Labour government has a massive reform agenda that involves significant overhauls of the health sectorwater services, and resource management law. 

Reforms often highlight the impact of a government on its citizens. These changes will inevitably have private sector impacts. 

The way both sectors work together through these changes is significant. There is genuine value in mutual understanding, and nurturing relationships before they’re needed. 

The fortunes of both sectors are intimately entwined and those that take the time to engage across sector lines will find it easier to achieve their goals. 

The article is contributed by Marg Joiner, Partner (Auckland) at SenateSHJ, originally found here.