What's holding Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson back from fronting up and directly asking business leaders (and their shareholders) to act like "Team New Zealand" and examine what more they can do for their country as the coronavirus crisis deepens worldwide?
Sharemarkets are roiling. The oil price has dropped.
Italy has locked itself down. These are just some of the latest international impacts. Ironies abound.
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Right now the government rhetoric coming out of Australia sounds very much as if it could be coming from a Labour government, not the Coalition Government with its Liberal and National party constituencies.
In much the same way as it dealt to the banking sector, the Australian Coalition is taking no prisoners as it stresses big businesses' own responsibilities as the impact of the coronavirus weighs on its population.
Pertinently, while Ardern was shirt-fronting Scott Morrison over the deportation issue, the Australian PM was preparing to urge big business to display "patriotism" as his Government readied itself to unveil a major stimulus package to offset the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.
Morrison is not pussy-footing about the impact on workers, elderly people and small business as the flow-on from the coronavirus cuts a swathe through the economy.
Addressing a business audience in Sydney yesterday in the run-up to his Government's stimulus package, Morrison said Australia faced a "Team Australia moment".
"If you're a large business, go back to your office today, pay your supplier invoices, and commit to pay them even faster for the next six months.
"That is what sticking together looks like. How you support your customers, your suppliers, your employees during the next six months and potentially beyond will say more about your company, your corporate values, and the integrity of your brand than anything else you've likely done as an organisation.
"We also need your investment, looking ahead to the opportunities that are on the other side. Take the opportunity to invest in the skills of your workforce, or in the capital projects that will provide the pathway to a new season of growth that will be there.
"This is a Team Australia moment."
On top this, the Australian Government has urged employers to hold on to staff, and support workers (including casuals) with paid leave when they need time off because of the virus.
Describing the crisis as "one of those national-interest moments", in which we confront a "hydra-headed and rapidly evolving challenge", Morrison has firmly placed himself in charge.
In New Zealand, businesses and employees alike continue to feel the pinch of uncertainty as sectors ranging from tourism, logging to export education are severely affected: mass events are cancelled and the fear factor entices people to stay out of restaurants and practise "social distancing".
The Government's steps (to date) have been appropriate as it talks with bankers, business representatives, unions and others as prepares to move on its arsenal of targeted support measures.
They all have responsibilities which stretch beyond asking for government support.
Just because Ardern and Robertson head up a Labour Government does not mean they need to be so much prisoners to fiscal rectitude that they are not willing to park Budget surpluses for now while they prepare a significant fiscal stimulus package to keep consumption moving during a looming global recession.
Robertson has plenty of room to move. He has already pledged to borrow for a $12 billion infrastructure programme at historically low interest rates. He has had Budget surpluses to play with. But government spending got away on him, increasing by more than $6.5b last year and more than $6.7b this year.
The upshot is a forecast $943 million operating deficit this year instead of last year's $7b surplus.
Clearly those numbers will already be under pressure as a result of the slowdown hitting the economy.
But this is not a one-sided affair.
Last August, a group representing the most powerful executives in the US abandoned the ideology that companies must maximise profits for shareholders above all else.
In a statement about the purpose of the corporation, the US Business Roundtable — which at that stage represented the chief executives of 192 companies, said business leaders should commit to balancing the needs of shareholders with customers, employees, suppliers and local communities.
New Zealand has a mainly SME (small- to medium-sized) business sector and those under pressure should expect some leeway from IRD with provisional tax payments and for banks to look at lengthening loan payment terms — if the businesses are salvageable long-term. Commercial landlords can also cut some slack.
At the big-end of town the pressures are different.
If CEOs politely tell shareholders they may have to take a short-term haircut — instead of reflexively pushing the redundancy button — this may be a better demonstration of social responsibility in concerning times than bog-standard corporate charters.