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Unlocking New Zealand’s productivity potential: the key role of frontier firms

18 December 2020


Wharenui, The Treasury, L3, 1 The Terrace

Virtual attendance
Email for the link

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New Zealand’s productivity record is poor. Our small domestic market and distant location makes it difficult and risky for firms to get the scale required to reach the global productivity frontier and be world class in their industry. Yet geography is not destiny, so how can New Zealand lift its game?

Treasury Guest Lecture

At this lecture, Murray Sherwin and Geoff Lewis from the Productivity Commission will share the key findings and recommendations from the Commission’s recently released draft report on New Zealand’s frontier firms. On average, New Zealand’s most productive or “frontier firms” have productivity levels only about half that found in their counterparts in other small advanced economies. So what can we learn from other small advanced economies? What are the priority actions for Government to maximise the economic contribution of frontier firms? And what regulatory or policy changes are needed to unlock productivity gains across the economy?

Panel discussion

Following the lecture, there will be a panel discussion with Bettina Schaer from the New Zealand Treasury, Dean Ford from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and Kieran Brown from the Berkley Research Group Institute. It will be facilitated by Dr Patrick Nolan from the Treasury and followed by a Q&A.

Book your place

This lecture is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to A virtual attendance option is available, please email for the link. 

About the presenters

Murray Sherwin CNZMMurray Sherwin CNZM, Chair of New Zealand Productivity Commission

Murray is an economist with over 40 years' experience across a wide range of public policy roles. He has been Chair of the Productivity Commission since its inception in 2011. His previous roles include: Chief Executive and Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry; Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand; Executive Director at the World Bank; member of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Group; and a member of the Advisory Board of the New Zealand Debt Management Office. Murray is a Charter Member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors.

Geoff LewisGeoff Lewis, Inquiry Director, New Zealand Productivity Commission

Geoff is the director of the frontier firms inquiry at the Productivity Commission. The Commission  was asked by the Government to investigate New Zealand’s most productive “frontier” firms and how their economic performance can be maximised. The Commission has released its draft report which makes recommendations for significant changes to broader innovation policies, regulations and investments. Geoff has worked extensively in the area of the economics of productivity, including cross-country comparative analysis and productivity measurement.