Never in their worst dreams could New Zealand business leaders have imagined the havoc Covid-19 would wreak. As they try to wrestle chaos into some order, Andrea Fox asked them some searching questions. Today she talks to Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns.
Briefly describe recent weeks for you and your business?
Unprecedented. The world will not be the same for a long time. We know our business is critical in ensuring that we get food, medicines, and PPE to where they are needed. We need to make sure we provide some resilience through the lockdown periods to be able to handle the recovery once we come out the other end of this.
What time have you been getting up and getting to bed during recent weeks?
Varies. We are splitting and rotating management staff to ensure we are not at work at the same time. Fair to say, getting to bed a lot later and waking up a lot earlier.
If you are working from home, where do you work?
I generally spend the mornings working from home and then at work in the afternoons, with our COO doing the opposite. Our youngest daughter has come home from Auckland to join our bubble and she has pinched my home office. I generally work downstairs away from the rest of the family in the mornings.
How has the family reacted to you working at home?
Dog loves it.
What is the biggest challenge about working from home – for you personally and the business?
For me it is the fact that I have to go into work as we are an essential business - we can't completely shut our bubble for the next four weeks. My wife is really strict on leaving my work clothes, shoes, etc in the garage and that I shower as soon as I get home.
What has been your worst/most fearful moment/realisation in this crisis so far?
Your biggest personal challenge so far?
Seeing how scared and anxious our frontline staff are and supporting them to work as safely as possible to keep the port open.
Your most valuable lesson so far?
How special our people are and how they continue to go the extra mile in keeping NZ open.
Have you bought shares in the past fortnight? If so in what industry/sector?
Have you bought gold or any other perceived "safe" asset? If so, what?
No. I bought a whole lot of bait and berley and then realised I am not allowed to use it.
Have you made time for exercise?
Not yet. But once we get a bit more settled, I will get back to walking the dog on the beach early in the morning.
What score between 1 and 10 do you give the Government's general performance in handling this crisis so far?
8. Grant Robertson has been outstanding in working across Government departments to ensure the best for NZ Inc.
Your prediction for the lockdown duration?
I suspect it could be longer than four weeks.