Business Council to focus on skills, investment and regions to drive more growth

  • Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
Prime Minister

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Business Advisory Council Chair Christopher Luxon have announced the four priority areas the Council will provide the Coalition Government with advice and support as it works on building a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy that improves the wellbeing of New Zealanders.

The four priority areas are:

  • Building tomorrow’s skills
  • Accelerating our regions
  • Attracting high quality investment
  • Unleashing our SMEs

“I’m excited we’ve so quickly identified with the Business Advisory Council the four areas of focus that are important to both the Coalition Government and businesses of all sizes in New Zealand,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Christopher Luxon says common ground has been quickly found between the Council and Government.

“We both share the same ambition to see New Zealand succeed and are confident that we have aligned on four areas where business and Government working closely together can make a hugely positive impact not just economically but also socially and environmentally,” Mr Luxon says.

“I am confident that we can start to deliver the first outputs from the priority areas prior to Christmas,” Christopher Luxon said.

Jacinda Ardern said the work of Council will help to unleash the full potential of the New Zealand economy.

“The Government is running a strong surplus, we’ve had the best quarter of growth in two years and unemployment is at a decade low. But we have persistent problems that hold our economy back. The Business Advisory Council will play a key role in helping to shift the economy up a gear and to unleash New Zealand’s economic potential.

“Everywhere I go business raise with me skills shortages and the difficulty of hiring skilled staff. We’re committed to ensuring no New Zealander is left behind in the skills transition going on in our economy. The Council has plans to better match skills to work.

“New Zealand has a long term productivity problem. It is a handbrake on the economy and we need to fix it. I’m looking forward to advice from the Business Advisory Council on how we can attract high quality investment into the productive economy. 

“I have been greatly impressed by the early thinking that has been developed by the Business Advisory Council under the leadership of Christopher Luxon.  The diversity of skills, industry experience and perspectives will deliver some exciting outcomes,” Jacinda Ardern said.

The terms of reference for the Council sets out that it will:

  • provide high-level free and frank advice on policies that directly affect business
  • harness the expertise of the private sector to inform government policy
  • build closer relationships between government and business.

Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council members:

  • Christopher Luxon (Chair), Air New Zealand
  • Peter Beck, Rocket Lab
  • Barbara Chapman, Professional director (started as Genesis Chair on 10 Oct)
  • Jacqui Coombes, Bunnings
  • Anna Curzon, Xero
  • Andrew Grant, McKinsey & Company
  • Miles Hurrell, Fonterra
  • Bailey Mackey, Pango Productions
  • David McLean, Westpac
  • Joc O’Donnell, HW Richardson
  • Gretta Stephens, Bluescope/NZ Steel
  • Rachel Taulelei, Kono
  • Fraser Whineray, Mercury

Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council Workplan

The Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council (BAC) is an initiative that was launched to help support the Coalition Government’s goal to grow and share New Zealand’s prosperity.  It recognises that the business community are important partners in this challenge.

The role of the BAC is to provide advice on policies affecting business, and to be a forum that can co-ordinate actions from the business community and the Government. The work programme of the BAC will consist of actions and commitments that may be delivered by business, by Government, or by both working together. The BAC will focus on four priority areas, each representing significant challenges and opportunities to the future prosperity of New Zealand, and where business can add a credible voice:

  1. Building Tomorrow’s Skills
  2. Attracting high quality investment
  3. Accelerating our Regions
  4. Unleashing our SMEs

Initially, the BAC will focus on priorities 1), 2), and 3). The questions below will form the basis of the agenda at the first BAC meeting on November 8.

1.     Building Tomorrow’s Skills

  • How can business practically demonstrate their commitment to ensuring workers in New Zealand are supported to gain new skills and transition into new jobs as the nature of work changes?
  • How can business support the operationalising of micro-crediting and the fees-free policy?
  • How can our tertiary institutions support this in the practical way, learning from best practice models overseas?

2.     Attracting High Quality Investment

  • How can business support SMEs and others within the business community realise the opportunities provided by R&D tax credits?
  • How can New Zealand grow its base of investment capital and ensure Kiwi firms realise their potential?
  • How can NZ attract quality foreign investment in a seamless way?
  • Could the Government’s investment funds play a more prominent role in investing in NZ infrastructure projects and businesses?                               

3.     Accelerating the Regions

  • What can business do to enhance services in rural and provincial towns?
  • How can Government and Business work together to unleash the potential of New Zealand’s Agritech industry?
  • How can Govt and business work together to solve regional skills shortages?