15 February 2011

Westpac launches GROW NEW ZEALAND programme

Westpac has launched GROW NEW ZEALAND, a programme to help restore confidence in the economy and pull the recovery forward.

GROW NEW ZEALAND will start with Chief Executive Officer George Frazis hosting forums across the country to hear first hand what businesses, large and small, need to invest for growth.

The forums will be held in cities and provincial centres with local business people from various sectors invited to attend in addition to community leaders. The emphasis will be based on hearing first hand what business needs and then looking how to help with viable and practical solutions.

“Banks are key planks in the economy and Westpac is determined to be proactive in trying to pull forward the recovery and get the economy moving again,” Mr Frazis said.

“We want to hear first hand, at the local level, what is needed to grow New Zealand. Our operating model is for local bankers to make local decisions and the forums are a logical extension of that strategy.

“We are looking to feed what we learn from the forums into other work Westpac is already doing to create a practical programme to help play our part in getting the economy moving again and to grow New Zealand.”

The economic recovery slowed in 2010, with GDP stagnant over a six month period in the middle of the year. Business confidence is fragile and the labour market sluggish and it is important that business and Boards regain confidence and invest for growth.

Mr Frazis said the objective of the GROW NEW ZEALAND program is simple.

“Our goal is to Grow New Zealand,” he said.