Mood of the Boardroom: Hillary gets the nod but little enthusiasm

Ninety four per cent of CEOs nominated Hillary Clinton as their choice for president. Illustration / Rod Emmerson
Ninety four per cent of CEOs nominated Hillary Clinton as their choice for president. Illustration / Rod Emmerson


Chief executives overwhelmingly said "I'm with her" when asked who they favoured most as the next president of the United States.

But while 94 per cent nominated Hillary Clinton as their choice for president, the bulk of the commentary suggests many CEOs have little faith in either candidate.

"It is a tragedy that such a sizeable and progressive economy as the US cannot produce high quality, dynamic and capable candidates for President," said Beca chief executive Greg Lowe. "Hillary is lower risk, but not fresh. Donald is a risk to world stability and US economic success."

A media boss echoed. "While I have selected Hillary Clinton as favoured candidate, I believe both candidates pose a risk to the US (and therefore global) economy."

"Of the 320 million people available in the US is this the best two candidates they could find?" questioned Mainfreight's Don Braid.

Just six chief executives favoured Donald Trump, earning a jibe from a leading banker -- "if anybody ticks Trump, have them certified!"

A boss of one of NZ's largest companies said he had concerns about both candidates "However if elected, the Democrat Party appears more likely to field a strong team behind Clinton to compensate for weaknesses."

Some 48 per cent of CEOs expect the disillusionment with traditional politicians -- as seen with Brexit and the rise of Trump -- will spill over to affect the NZ political environment in next year's election. "Centre/Centre Left supporters will be looking for someone to galvanise them, Trump style, to 'fight the good fight'," said a media boss.

But 40 per cent of respondents felt the international political turmoil would not have much effect in New Zealand. I think our politicians are largely pragmatic and grounded," said Beca's Lowe."UK and US politics has become populist and ego-driven which does not benefit their electorate in the long run."

Some pointed out NZ First was already a beneficiary. "The flag referendum and the Northland by-election were that sentiment manifesting already."

Among other comments:

"Here comes Winston. He seems to be the obvious winner of the disenfranchised voter (if they decide to vote at all). I never thought I would say it but I am glad we have MMP, it may prove to be a good moderator in this new political environment."

"It will emanate from the left. The right is too blinded by Key to distinguish. The country's performance is, overall, strong, that will tip the scale into tolerance."

"This will be National's biggest concern, as it runs the risk that Kiwis decide to 'give the other guys a go' and nationalistic agendas get the balance of power -- such as NZ First."

- NZ Herald

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