Run, rabbits

By Karyn Scherer

Hop to it - the Year of the Rabbit is almost here. Karyn Scherer goes seeking guidance on what's in our stars.

Murray Jordan, managing director of Foodstuffs Auckland. Photo / Richard Robinson
Murray Jordan, managing director of Foodstuffs Auckland. Photo / Richard Robinson

According to the Chinese lunar calendar, the Year of the Tiger is nearly over and the Year of the Bunny is looming. Here at The Business, we're not sure the world needs more bunnies, but so be it. At least it's not the year of the PIG. So far - touch wood - Portugal, Italy, Greece (and let's not forget Spain) have avoided calling in the IMF, so let's hope New Zealand can keep the debt collectors at bay for a little longer too.

The Year of the Rabbit officially begins on February 3 and, according to the Chinese, that means the next 12 months are likely to be less exciting than the past 12. Surely that's a good thing? As for people born in the Year of the Rabbit, they are supposedly timid sorts who make good diplomats, but they're also meant to be very good at business. Go figure.

If you believe the doomsayers, this will be the year the Chinese bubble will finally burst, so maybe it's time we hopped off the Chinese bandwagon anyway. Then again, New Zealand's diary is pretty full this year, so we've got plenty to distract us from any further economic fallout: we've already got a royal wedding to look forward to, the Rugby World Cup, and a general election - how much more excitement can one country take?

Just to cloud the crystal ball even more, we asked some of the people who featured in The Business last year to add their predictions for 2011.

The Questions

1. Dumbest thing you did in 2010?
2. Smartest thing you're going to do in 2011?
3. Where are you going to be on October 23 (Rugby World Cup final, duh)?
4. What's your new favourite toy?
5. Your nomination for the cliché of 2010 (apart from "going forward", which is the "no-brainer" answer)?
6. Double-dip or is the worst behind us?

Murray Jordan, managing director of Foodstuffs Auckland

1. It's hard to narrow it down to one thing but I'm thinking it could prove to be committing to the Blue Lakes half marathon in Rotorua.
2. Taking on the managing director role at Foodstuffs Auckland.
3. As a good Kiwi bloke I'll be celebrating our win in the stands.
4. Wii Sports - it's always humbling to have your 5-year-old knock you to the virtual canvas.
5. "We are all on the same page."
6. I anticipate a slow, steady improvement in 2011.

Cathy Quinn, chair of Minter Ellison Rudd Watts

1. Turning up at Brisbane airport for a flight that was leaving from the Gold Coast. I not only got the airport wrong, I got the airline wrong too.
2. Check which airline and airport I'm leaving from before I depart anywhere.
3. Probably at the final with some of our major clients watching the All Blacks win spectacularly. Then I'll shout our guests Veuve Clicquot.
4. My iPad - it's very useful, especially when sitting around airports after missing a flight.
5. "The new normal".
6. The worst is behind us. This year won't be easy but those who survived (even if battle-scarred) are better equipped for the future.

Pip Greenwood, chair of Russell McVeagh

1. Bribing my then 4-year-old, who was working up to a major tantrum, that she could get whatever she wanted from The Warehouse (her favourite shop) if she calmed down.
2. Not make the same mistake with my 2-year-old.
3. Well, as Russell McVeagh is the Official Law Firm of Rugby World Cup 2011, my marketing team tells me that I'll be at Eden Park.
4. Has to be my iPad. Especially with the Net-a-porter app. I can shop in bed!
5. "GFC" - we have to move on from the Global Financial Crisis.
6. Square root recovery - the worst is behind us but we are in for a flat period.

Allan Crafar, farmer

1. I wasn't hard enough on my captors.
2. I'm going to outsmart them.
3. Watching it on TV somewhere - I can't afford to go there. You obviously don't pull tits for a living if you can afford to go.
4. The digital photo frame my son gave me for Christmas. It's already got 365 photos on it and half of them would probably incriminate me if the environment people got hold of them, given the work we've done to improve things over the years.
5. "The Crafars" and "the Chinese this and that"; everyone who used our brand inappropriately.
6. On the surface it will look like things are getting better, but underneath it's getting worse.

Shaun Ryan, chief executive of IT firm SLI Systems

1. Not doing up the latches on my YikeBike - more than once. It's exciting when it folds while you're riding it.
2. Sorry I've got nothing here.
3. At home, watching TV with friends.
4. My YikeBike.
5. "Impromptu tweetup".
6. No double dip - but the MythBusters did prove that double dipping is safe.

Jim Sutton, chair of Landcorp

1. The money I've spent on horses.
2. Choose how to spend a good deal of my time that has hitherto been spent on paid work.
3. In front of my TV set. You might want to spend a few hundred - or even a few thousand - dollars getting yourself to the ground and sitting in the grandstand, but when you get home you'll certainly want to watch it on television again.
4. I'm of the generation that struggles to keep up with information technology. I wish they would hold progress to allow people like me to catch up.
5. I could do without people still denying the reality of climate change.
6. It will be a year of ups and downs. We'll make headway in some things - hopefully including the World Cup - but not everybody is going to end this year better than they started. I think unemployment will grow and the gaps in our public services will widen.

Theresa Gattung, chair of Wool Partners International

1. Going for a walk in the Karangahake Gorge after heavy rain in inappropriate footwear. I slipped and fell flat on my back, narrowly missing falling over the cliff.
2. Get 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night - it's the best beauty regime I know!
3. I have no idea.
4. My iPad. I noticed when a couple of girlfriends who aren't usually into technology raved about it - it's a thing of beauty and a pleasure to use.
5. Almost all the dialogue on MasterChef.
6. I've been surprised at the speed of the uplift in sharemarkets. It's not fashionable to be a Jeremiah but with the US printing money like never before I'd be surprised if the recession is done.

Tim Thorpe, film industry consultant

1. Avoided getting new glasses and admitting to ageing. Several stubbed toes later ...
2. Act my age - but then again, maybe not.
3. In front of the TV or at a 3D cinema if it goes ahead.
4. My new glasses.
5. "Cascading". Okay, it's not a cliché yet but look out for it.
6. I'd love to say that the worst is behind us, but my rejuvenated 20:20 vision suggests otherwise.

Bill Ralston, public relations consultant

1. Probably answering these questions.
2. Relax, breathe and go with the flow.
3. Sitting in front of the telly with a cold beer in my hand (if the All Blacks are in the final) or locked in the bathroom sobbing (if they're not).
4. The iPad I haven't got yet.
5. The journalistic cliché: "time will tell".
6. The worst is definitely now in the rear view mirror. However, we are stuck in first gear and will only grind through 2011 at a crawl.

Brian Ward, chief executive of biotech company Mesynthes

1. Stayed in too many hotels organised at the last minute.
2. Make sure I can always get a reliable internet connection when I travel and get a US call plan.
3. Celebrating at Eden Park!
4. My iPhone 4 and I love GoogleMaps.
5. "Reach out".
6. I'm moderately optimistic, particularly for healthcare.

Steve Davis, president of IT company Author-it

1. There's a short but compelling list of actions that I'd describe as "don't do that again" but the three months I wasted capital-raising stand out. We really didn't need the money and 2010 was a terrible market for venture capital funding.
2. Continue our focus on building a high-performance team culture.
3. 100% Auckland. My calendar is cleared, I'm in the ballot and I will be dressed in black at either Eden Park or Party Central to watch the All
Blacks bring the World Cup home.
4. My Jobeky electro-acoustic drum kit. The neighbours are speaking to me again.
5. "Double-dip or is the worst behind us?"
6. If the last two quarters are anything to go by, the worst is behind us. However, ensure you have sufficient cash reserves to weather another downturn, then stop worrying about the market and focus on what you can control.

Martin Taylor, director of the Digital Publishing Forum

1. Picking that 2010 would be New Zealand's break-out Year of the Ebook. Good start, but not quite.
2. Making 2011 New Zealand's Year of the Ebook. We're on our way.
3. Not a rugby fan and those short term holiday rental prices look pretty good, so overseas on someone else's nickel, I hope.
4. Sorry, it's the iPad. Never, ever thought I'd become an Apple fanboy. That said, those new Android tablet gizmos are starting to look pretty good ...
5. "Green shoots recovery".
6. The worst is behind us.

- NZ Herald

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