Hit refresh throughout the day for the latest updates from the Government's job summit.
Herald political editor Audrey Young
after Shanghai-based Kiwi Andrew Grant addressed the summit.
Grant the younger is the managing director and general manager of McKinsey and Company's Greater China region - an international firm of consultants that advise business, governments and institutions on performance.
His advice: prepare for mountain weather - economic mountain weather. Companies needed to learn to do things differently, he said.
Warehouse chief executive Ian Morris said his company was not laying people off but any vacancies that come up were filled internally which means positions, not people, are made redundant.
"Jobs in an industry like ours are related to demand. If consumer demand is down, that creates a risk to jobs," Mr Morris said.
He said it was important that the company retained skilled workers through the slump.
"Our retention levels are running very high, our employees are staying," Mr Morris said.
He said he was pleased to be involved in the summit.
"The great thing about today is that we have got people of different backgrounds with open minds," Mr Morris said.
The job summit has sparked heated debate on our
, with comments ranging from "hot air" to "great response".
Michael From Auckland Central thought the idea of the Government funding a day of community work for struggling industries "just reeks of something that someone from the 'touchy-feely' brigade has come up with, to try and insulate the masses from all the nasty realities of the real world".
Finance Minister Bill English told delegates that the ideas put forward today will be considered during the budget round.
He said the summit "scares the hell out of bureaucracy" but he was happy to see business take a leadership role, something which hasn't always happened in the past.
Mr English said New Zealand needed to get used to the idea that change is permanent.
"Much of the adaptability is going to be happening on your shop floors, in your workplaces and in our workplace," he said.
Mr English said in the end it will be taxpayers who decide whether today was a "talk-fest or a do-fest".
Andrew Grant is a director in McKinsey's Shanghai office and said preparing for a slump was like preparing for "mountain weather".
He said governments needed to focus on the short term measures that have long-term benefits.
"Jobs are absolutely the fundamental issue to focus on," Mr Grant said.
He said conventional approaches will not work.
Mr Grant told delegates that China had introduced two novel approaches, including re-introducing the "golden week holiday" which increased domestic spending and giving vouchers to rural workers.
Even more ideas, some more ambitious than others, are coming through. Among them is a suggestion that a cycleway is built along the length of New Zealand to create jobs and boost tourism numbers.
Other ideas include:
* $10,000 interest free loans to new house buyers;
* Government-funded crisis managers to help companies in strife;
* A fund from the sale of government bonds to add liquidity to the consumer finance market;
* Tax holidays for struggling businesses; and
* The Government offering loan guarantees to small and medium sized businesses.
Some of the ideas written on white boards around the conference centre include:
* Encouraging workers to take unpaid leave.
* Easing up on immigration
* Clarifying the carbon trading scheme
* Supporting businesses to develop hedging capability
* Giving tax exemptions for workers upskilling
* Bringing forward capital investment
* Targeting entrepreneurial migrants to invest and/or move to New Zealand
Delegates have broken for a recession lunch which includes a sandwich and a bottle of water. They are however being supplied with free espresso coffee throughout the day.
National Distribution Union secretary Laila Harre said unions had been "spread far too thinly" at today's conference but have already "knocked out some silly ideas".
Ms Harre said one business leader had suggested extending the 90-day probationary period for new jobs and another had proposed reducing entitlements under the Holidays Act.
"Some people from the business community are putting forward pet topics," Ms Harre said.
She said the union has been putting forward proposals around Government procurement and building a stronger local manufacturing industry.
Ms Harre said people also need to keep in mind the "hidden redundancies" amongst the casual work force.
She said workers in the casual sector who leave are simply not replaced and that amounts to a redundancy.
"There's a challenge to large employers like The Warehouse and other large retailers to tai-ho on any plans to reduce staff," Ms Harre said.
Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples said some good ideas had been put forward in the Maori economy group.
He said there is an understanding that Maori are going to be hit hard but Dr Sharples said training is one of the ways out of the global recession for Maori.
He said treaty settlement money could be used by iwi to generate work but that was something for iwi to look at. Dr Sharples said iwi were looking at building partnerships with the Government to build infrastructure such as roads.
Chief executive of Fonterra, Andrew Ferrier, said delegates in his group had been looking at freeing up liquidity for New Zealand companies but refused to give details of what was discussed.
Mr Ferrier said that while it was a lot easier for companies the size of Fonterra, he was at the summit representing his company as an employer of 10,000 people.
"We want to help the country get through a tough time," Mr Ferrier said.
Herald political editor Audrey Young is at the summit where she is one of the media pack working under "Chatham House Rules" - this means they can sit in on the sessions but cannot quote delegates without getting their permission afterwards.
The media can of course report directly on the main speeches and Audrey says
that John Key's line in his speech about Kiwis not being whiners "sounded a little more like an aspiration than reality".
She also says many of the ideas being discussed today, including the possibility of a nine-day fortnight in manufacturing, are old news which have been trailed in advance of the summit.
Samoan community leader and former All Black Michael Jones said there has been criticism among his community that there has been not enough representation from the Pacific Islands.
"It would have been prudent to have more representation here. It's not for me to question the rationale but maybe it was a short oversight," Mr Jones said.
He said Maori and Pacific Islanders will be hugely effected by the world-wide economic slump.
But Mr Jones said delegates had taken into account the most vulnerable which also includes the disabled and women.
He said the recession would also affect Pacific economies but because they are so small and rely on development aid, they are protected to some extent.
Mr Jones said there appears to be less money on the streets of Apia and Nukualofa.
He said that is partly caused by less money being sent back from family members living in New Zealand.
Minister of Finance Bill English compared this morning's group session to a "giant pre-budget brainstorm".
He said many proposals have been put forward and "some of them we'll do and some of them we won't be able to do".
Mr English said as the recession gets worse, the Government will need every idea available.
He said the session had been constructive and the economic mood had not stopped people coming up with new ideas.
"You're getting a real sense that, in a way, this is an opportunity to think about a lot of things we haven't had to think about," Mr English said.
He said some were looking to the Government to spend money but said that is no different to what he gets from ministers.
Mr English jokingly said: "Ministers are a bit trickier because they know how to make it look better" and went on to describe the session to a "pre-budget brainstorm".
Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee said there were two key messages coming out of the discussions he had been involved in at the summit today: the need to cut red-tape and the difficulty small and medium-sized businesses are facing in trying to raise capital in the current climate.
Following speeches from John Key, Alan Bollard and Mark Weldon, the summit has split into six smaller groups to discuss possible solutions to the economic crisis.
The auditorium at the Telstraclear Events Centre has been partitioned up with one group looking at skills and training, another at helping firms survive and one on raising funds for businesses from banks and other organisations.
Reserve Bank Governor Dr Alan Bollard said the global recession represented the "biggest destruction of global wealth ever".
He said the amount of money lost was in the trillions of dollars, so much so that if one dollar notes were strung together, they would reach the sun.
Dr Bollard said if the 30 trillion lost on equity markets was handed out to the third world, global poverty would be eradicated in 10 years.
He said both the "western" and "eastern" worlds would need to change their approaches to expenditure and saving or lack of it.
"It's not going to happen immediately and it's going to get harder," Dr Bollard said.
He said New Zealand was, comparatively speaking, was in a good position with a traditionally high employment rate, controlled inflation, strong government accounts and banks with double A ratings.
Summit chair and stock exchange CEO Mark Weldon told delegates that today was also about preparing for the other end of the recession.
He said the country needed to "build muscle" and prepare for opportunities as the economy improved.
Mr Weldon told the delegates that they had a responsibility to work hard and accurately.
Manukau City mayor Len Brown called on the those gathered to invest in "our greatest resource" - people.
He talked about the dreams hopes and aspirations of the young people of his city before leading a waiata with school leaders.
This sentiment was echoed by John Whitehead, secretary for the Treasury who said education and training could prove to be a key to finding the way out of the recession.
"In my view, investing in these areas could have the biggest pay-off," Mr Whitehead said.
John Key says
: "We are not a country of whiners. We are not a country of slackers. We are not a country of selfish individuals. We are a gritty little country with the smarts and determination needed to weather this storm."
John Key says there are three kinds of proposals to come out of the day:
1. Government-funded initiatives, but these will have to "pass a high hurdle" given the state of the country's books.
2. Changes to legislation and cutting red tape to make it easier to set up and expand businesses.
3. Moves which employers take themselves with their staff.
John Key gives his opening address to the summit. He says: "Our job today is not to promise the impossible. Unemployment will rise over the next year. But we can do something to soften the blow."
Speaking before opening the jobs summit Prime Minister John Key said the ideas being put forward would be carefully considered.
"It's crucially important that we leave our ideology at the door and look for some practical measures," he said on Radio New Zealand.
"The Government doesn't have a monopoly on good ideas. We've got our eyes and ears open."
Around 200 invited representatives from business and other sectors are arriving at the summit in Manukau within the next half hour.
They are meeting to discuss ideas to protect and create jobs as the economy is hit by the international financial crisis and ongoing recession.
Ideas already floated included troubled firms going to four-day weeks and having the Government subsidise the fifth day while workers do training or community work.
Agricultural entrepreneur Craig Norgate said there was no silver bullet to cure the economic chills, but favoured local authorities taking on debt to invest in infrastructure and capital projects that they might ordinarily baulk at.
"I think it's got to be a number of little things: the jobs will be lost in little bites right around the country, and they will be saved by little bites," Mr Norgate said.
- NZPA, NZ HERALD STAFF, NEWSTALK ZB