Rob Fyfe calls for long-term post-COVID-19 economic plan from Government

Watch: Rob Fyfe calls for a long-term post-COVID-19 economic plan from the Government. Credit: Rebuilding Paradise with Paul Henry

A former Air New Zealand CEO believes the Government needs a long-term post-COVID-19 plan in order for the country to economically get back on its feet.

Rob Fyfe, who now works with the Government by liaising with the private sector to help shape the COVID-19 response, says there's a risk if the current mindset of stimulating the economy doesn't change.

"We're going into significant debt, we're going to have significant unemployment. We need to attract investment into our country, we need to attract people into our country that can create jobs, that can restimulate our economy and bring value to New Zealand," he said during an interview on Rebuilding Paradise with Paul Henry.

"We need a whole new mindset for what the next five to 10 years look like.

"I haven't seen a long-term plan yet. I think the last six weeks I've seen us fighting a fire and trying to get back on our feet. We need a long-term plan. The world's changed, and it's changed for many years to come."

He believes New Zealand can become one of the most attractive countries to live and do business in. 

"We've gone from one of the most remote and difficult countries in the world to get to, to one of the most attractive. Let's not squander that opportunity, let's make the most of it."

Fyfe says technology is where value can be found to help stimulate the economy.

"It's technology that allows us to have people coming to and fro across our border without bringing the virus into our country, it's technology that allows us to use our water more effectively and it's technology that allows us to improve the productivity of our agricultural outlook.

"It's technology and digital and IT developments that can be built here in New Zealand but service the world."

While working with the Government to help form the COVID-19 response, he says he's found the slow pace frustrating.

"Government doesn't move very fast, it's not designed to move fast, and in a crisis like this you need to make decisions fast, you need to cut through the BS and get stuff done.

"The system is frustrating but there are some bloody good people in here."

But he believes the Government has done a good job tackling the crisis so far.

"It's really easy to be critical in hindsight, but they had to make a bunch of decisions with very scant information at the start. They haven't got everything right, don't get me wrong, but I think they've actually done a very good job."

Watch his full interview with Paul Henry above. 

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