18 Oct 2018

Business advisory body experts named

6:51 pm on 18 October 2018

The newly-announced members of the Business Advisory Council will provide "free and frank" advice to the government, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

Christopher Luxon

Christopher Luxon is the chairperson of the Business Advisory Council. Photo: Supplied / Air New Zealand

The group, which will be chaired by former Air NZ chief executive Christopher Luxon, will also include six women and six men with small-to-large business experience.

Jacinda Ardern said the body would meet three times a year, with the first meeting scheduled for November 8.

"This won't just be a place where we have a conversation, it's not about writing reports, this is about designing actions and activities that will make a difference for business for workers, for our environment and for the well-being of New Zealand," she said.

"We will work collaboratively, we've specifically asked for really free and frank advice to be shared and I expect that.

"There will be areas where we get advice that we'll take onboard, others that it might inform some of our decisions and from time to time we may take different points of view."

Council members would not be paid and were expected to meet the costs of their own time.

The council was announced in August after reports of plummeting business confidence hit the headlines.

The council's chair Christopher Luxon said work would begin next month.

"One of the big topic's that we've been talking a lot about is around skills and how we build and prepare the workforce for tomorrow's skills."

"Also about how we attract high-quality investment."

"We're going to get working and we're gonna get working very quickly."

He said the council was made up of "pragmatic" people.

"You've got a bunch of business leaders who like to problem-solve and get things done, so I think we'll be able to get through our work plan really very well."

Council make-up:

  • Christopher Luxon (chairperson): He has been the CEO of Air New Zealand since 2013. Before that he was president of Unilever Canada and worked for 18 years at the multinational.
  • Andrew Grant: A senior partner at McKinsey and Company. He is chairperson of McKinsey's Knowledge and Capability committee and was managing director for Greater China from 2005-9.
  • Anna Curzon: She is the chief product and partner officer for Xero. She is also a board member for Kea, which connects New Zealanders around the world.
  • Bailey Mackey: He is CEO and founder of Pango Productions, which creates content for Amazon, Netflix and national Geographic. He is president of Ngati Porou East Coast Rugby.
  • Barbara Chapman: The former CEO of ASB Bank, she is the chairperson of Genesis Energy and an independent director of The New Zealand Initiative, Fletcher Building, NZME and IAG New Zealand. She was the Herald's Business Leader of the Year in 2017.
  • David McLean: He is the CEO of Westpac New Zealand and before that was managing director of the New York section of Westpac Group.
  • Fraser Whineray: He is the CEO of Mercury NZ, where he has worked 10 years.
  • Gretta Stephens: A qualified engineer, she is CEO for New Zealand and the Pacific of BlueScope, a steel manufacturer. She was the CEO of Aluminium Smelters.
  • Jacqui Coombes: She is the director for New Zealand and Group Human Resources for Bunnings.
  • Jocelyn O'Donnell: A director of HW Richardson Group, based in Invercargill. The group is one of the country's largest family-owned private businesses. She helped lead the development of the Bill Richardson Transport World museum.
  • Miles Hurrell: He is the CEO of Fonterra and before that was COO of Farm Source, which dealt with New Zealand farmers.
  • Peter Beck: The founder and CEO of Rocket Lab, the rock launch company he founded in 2006.
  • Rachel Taulelei: Known for her work in sustainable business, she was the CEO of Yellow Brick Road which specialised in responsibly caught premium seafood. She is the CEO of Kono, a Maori-owned food and drinks company.