Inaugural meeting of Independent Advisory Panel

The Provincial Growth Fund’s (PGF) Independent Advisory Panel held its inaugural meeting in Wellington today, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says.

The panel – chaired by Mr Rodger Finlay – will play an important role over the lifetime of the PGF and will provide advice to officials and ministers on proposals.

“The panel will add great value to the PGF and I’m confident we’ve got the right people with the right mix of skills, expertise and experience,” Shane Jones said.

“After meeting with the panel today, it’s clear that each member has a passion for regional economic development and for what this Government is undertaking.

“This is the largest capital investment New Zealand’s provinces have seen in decades and the panel will be crucial in assessing proposals and providing the Government with guidance and advice.

“Today, I’ve asked the panel to look at the Ōpōtiki Harbour development – a project which has been in the pipeline for some years.

“The costs of the project have increased significantly because of engineering and geotechnical requirements. While the PGF is intended to boost our regional economies and provide opportunity, we must always be prudent and responsible with taxpayer money.

“The panel will report back to me on the project before the Government makes any final decision on it,” Shane Jones said.

Notes to editors:

The $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund was officially launched on 23 February. For background click here.

Panel members:

Rodger Finlay (chairperson) – Rodger is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand and a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Directors. For the past ten years, Rodger has been solely engaged in governance. He is currently a Governor of Radio NZ, Deputy Chairman of Rural Equities Limited, Chairman of Mundane Asset Management (UK) and a Director of NZ Thoroughbred Racing.

Dr Charlotte Severne – Charlotte is a geologist and former chief scientist for oceans and Māori development at NIWA and is currently Assistant Vice Chancellor Māori Pasifika at Massey University. She also holds a number of Tūwharetoa governance roles and has worked with Māori businesses as a science advisor.

Dr David Wilson – David has a Masters in Public Policy and a PhD in regional development. He has been leading Northland Inc since September 2013 and has been chair of EDNZ since September 2015. His background is commercial, including experience in sales, marketing, and product management.

John Rae – John has a broad range of management and directorial experience in a variety of different business sectors including banking, investment, venture capital, technology, infrastructure, construction and engineering. In addition to chairing the National Infrastructure Advisory Board, John is also chairman of Gisborne’s economic development agency.

John Sproat – John practiced mainly in the areas of bank lending, securitisation, structured and project financing and capital markets, working for New Zealand and international corporate banking clients. John is a lawyer by trade and previously worked as a partner for Chapman Tripp for over 20 years.

Neville Harris – Neville has worked in the public service for 39 years with prominent roles in the management and supervision of the regulatory framework for corporations, securities, insolvency, intellectual property rights and Crown mineral estate. Neville was Director of the government’s Rugby World Cup 2011 Office and is also on the board of the Christchurch Stadium Trust.

Rosie Mercer – Rosie is currently the manager of sustainable business improvement at Ports of Auckland, where she manages infrastructure and environmental projects. She is a chartered member of Engineering New Zealand and was formerly the leader of a New Zealand Defence Force engineering team during a NATO-led operation in Afghanistan.

Sarah Brown – Sarah is the project manager for Southland Regional Development Strategy, which runs the Southland regional economic development programme.

Sarah was the Southern Institute of Technology Chair until May 2017, a director of PowerNet Limited and a trustee of the 1000 Days Trust and is on the Board of Electricity Invercargill Ltd.