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Workshop 4

The Big Debate: A United States of ANZAC - Would a Trans-Tasman Union be Good for NZ Business?

7.30am - 9.30am, Wednesday 3 November 2010, Stamford Plaza, Auckland

Is it time to join forces with Australia? Many think so, many oppose the idea vehemently. What is the best answer for NZ business?

As the Australian and New Zealand governments work to decrease the barriers between the two nations, Kiwi support for a Trans-Tasman merger is rising:

  • Will a Trans-Tasman economic union boost the NZ economy?
  • Will being part of a bigger market create more jobs and give better access to opportunities for careers and education?
  • Will there be a level playing field for Kiwi businesses in Australia?
  • Should NZ business push for economic integration only or full political union?
  • Would a union grow the two countries’ influence and leadership?
  • Would there be a price to pay for NZ business in the loss of sovereignty and national independence?
  • What are the challenges for NZ businesses to exploit the opportunity a union may offer?
  • What are the downsides for New Zealand business?
  • Will our “clean green” image survive a close association with the minerals exporting Australian model?
  • Will we see an exodus of Kiwi talent over the Tasman?
  • Will there be an acceleration of offshore ownership of New Zealand businesses and assets? 

Hear four outstanding speakers debate this important topic, two arguing for a union, and two arguing against:

Rod McGeoch
Co-Chair, Australia & New Zealand - Leadership Council 

Rod McGeoch enjoys a remarkable career as a leader in business, sports administration and the law. Perhaps best known as the leader of Sydney’s successful Olympics 2000 bid, Rod is also chairman or director of a wide range of major corporations and has been chairman emeritus of one of Australia’s largest law firms. He is a former chairman of the Committee for Sydney.

A recent ABN AMRO report described Rod as being Australia’s most influential director. He is closely involved in Trans-Tasman issues as chairman of SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited and of Saatchi & Saatchi’s Trans-Tasman Advisory Board and as Co-Chairman of the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum. From 2001 to 2010 he was a director of Telecom Corporation of New Zealand Limited. 

Andrew Main
Business Editor, The Australian

Apart from a brief but exciting interlude as an institutional stockbroker in Sydney, Paris and London between 1987 and 1992, Andrew has been a financial reporter since 1979. He spent about 14 years with the Australian Financial Review having previously been at the Sydney Morning Herald. While with the AFR Andrew reported on the HIH Royal Commission and later published a book Other People’s Money - The complete story of the extraordinary collapse of HIH.

Andrew has an indepth knowledge of corporate governance issues, the ASX and equity markets, mining, resources and energy sectors. He is much in demand as a speaker and moderator with business audiences and has a regular radio spot on ABC 702 in Sydney in which he tries to unravel the mysteries of business.  

Rod Oram
International Business Writer, former editor of Business Herald

Rod Oram has more than 30 years’ experience as an international business journalist including with the Financial Times in London and New York and as Editor of Business Herald in Auckland. He is currently a columnist for the Sunday Star-Times and Good magazine, a regular broadcaster on radio and television, and a frequent public speaker on business and economic issues.

In 2007, Penguin published Rod’s book on the New Zealand economy, Reinventing Paradise. He was winner of Landcorp’s Agricultural Communicator of the Year award in 2009; and this year he was the individual winner in the Vero Excellence in Business Support Awards and columnist of the year in the Magazine Publishers Awards. Rod is an adjunct professor in the business faculty at Unitec in Auckland.

Mark Weldon
Chief Executive, NZX

Mark has been chief executive of NZX since June 2002. In that time he has led NZX through its transformation from a mutual to a listed company, changed the exchange’s overall approach both domestically and internationally, and brought home the relevance of capital markets to New Zealand. 

With a Juris Doctorate degree and a Diploma in International Law from Columbia University, New York, Mark also has a Master’s degree (1st class honours) in Economics, and Commerce and Arts degrees from the University of Auckland. His overseas experience has included working with the New York law firm of Skadden, Arps and at McKinsey & Company, advising a number of Fortune 500 corporations. An Olympic swimmer, Mark represented New Zealand at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and at the 1990 Commonwealth Games.