Is New Zealand really that risk averse?

By Sir Ray Avery

9 October 2017

Suncorp New Zealand recently released some research that shows that only 43% of New Zealand businesses are confident about making risk decisions.

The research seemed to say that New Zealanders aren’t keen to take on risks – but I respectfully disagree. Taking risks is part of our cultural make-up.

We don’t mind risks, but we don’t like rules

At the launch event for the research, I conducted a simple experiment to show that Kiwis aren’t frightened of risk, or being found out.

I did a straw poll of how many people in the audience had a deck, or an extension to their house, that they didn’t have a permit for.

You can guess – about 80% of the audience put up their hands.

They’re intelligent, law abiding people – but they don’t like the rules, so they’ll take the risk.

Daring to dream is the riskiest business

Anyone who thinks that New Zealanders are risk averse – you don’t recognise who you are.

When we think about risk, we think about money and fear of failure – we’re careful with mum’s money.

But when we think about rules, we’ve got no respect for the status quo – we dare to dream. 

And best of all, just because we don’t know things, doesn’t mean we won’t give it a go.

Daring to dream is the best kind of risk taking, and it’s time that New Zealand recognised it for what it was – a gamble on the fact that we’ll succeed, because we believe in ourselves.

About Sir Ray Avery

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