The Prime Minister has opted for star power in the selection of her much-hyped Business Advisory Council, with executives from Air New Zealand, Fonterra, Xero, and Rocket Lab appointed to the council.
The council, chaired by Air New Zealand CEO Chris Luxon, was announced in by Jacinda Ardern in August. It is part of an effort to stem plummeting business confidence, which Ardern has called a “giant flashing sign in lights with fireworks going off behind it”.
Big names on the board include Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell, Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck, and Barbara Chapman, Chairman of Genesis Energy and director of several other companies including NZME.
None of the members will be paid and each appointment has been made for two years — effectively until the next election.
The Government also released the terms of reference for the council. It will meet three times a year to provide ‘high-level free and frank advice’ on policies that affect businesses.
There is a perception among some businesses that the Government does not consult effectively over issues that affect certain sectors.
The council is also expected to “build closer relationships between government and business”.
The terms of reference note the group will provide a “forum” through which the business community can “co-ordinate leadership and action” on issues facing the county.
The suggestion of cooperation and coordination with the Government could be intended as a means to neuter criticisms of the Government’s lack of consultation with business.
Ardern said she wanted the council to advise her on the future of the economy.
“New Zealand needs a modern economy that has the investment, innovation and skills required to ensure we can all share in prosperity and opportunity in a sustainable way. To do that we need to work closely with business leaders, share ideas and consider solutions to overcoming barriers together,” she said.