The New Zealand Business & Parliament Trust - our services business study programmes

By: The New Zealand Business & Parliament Trust  05-Apr-2012

The objective of the Business Study Programme is to give an overview of key business functions and to encourage MPs' understanding of the contribution business makes to the economy.

Business Study Attachments

The objectives of these attachments is to provide MPs with intensive one-to-one introductions to a business organisation, to give an overview of key business functions and to encourage MPs' understanding of the contribution business makes to the economy - so that when MPs debate legislation affecting business as a whole, they can do so better informed.

By seeing, at close quarters, how businesses are run, their economic and social environment and how decisions are taken and communicated, MPs are able to gain new insight into the needs, methods and thinking of the business sector.

Each study attachment features placement of an MP with a "host" company.  The MP is attached to one of the Trust's corporate members for a period of at least five days for a member’s first-time attachment but for shorter periods of time for subsequent attachments.  The format of each programme has common elements to ensure the MP is exposed to the company's operations.

An attachment programme is intended to:

  • provide a bird's eye view of business objectives, strategies for achieving them and the institutional framework for implementing them;
  • give an appreciation of the scope of operations from grass roots activities to management and supporting structures;
  • show how a professionally managed group tackles planning, budgeting, investment appraisal, overseas trade and other decision-making activities;
  • involve MPs in practical processes so they can see at first-hand how decisions are reached, their quality and scope;
  • have dialogue with business on industrial relations and give MPs the opportunity to witness company/employee relations first-hand;
  • improve MPs’ understanding of the extent to which government strategies and legislation affect business;
  • stimulate a two-way exchange whereby the company gains a better understanding of the MP's job.

Programmes are arranged for the convenience of the MP and company and are intended to be undertaken during a 12-month period. For the study programme to be deemed complete, a minimum of five days’ study must be undertaken by the MP.

On completion of the study programme and receipt by the Trust of the MP’s report, a certificate of Associate Membership of the Business and Parliament Trust is presented to the MP.

MPs’ Business Briefings

As an extension of the Business Study Programme scheme, the Trust organises an annual Business Briefing for MPs where a prominent guest speaker is invited to talk to MPs and corporate guests, on a subject that may be topical or bear specific interest to those in the corporate world.

The aim of these briefings is to enhance MPs’ understanding of the business world in general, the changes and developments taking place in it and to learn something of the impact of political decisions on the development of business. The Briefing is hosted by the president of the Trust, normally in the winter months.

Previous guest speakers have included Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Senior Minister of the Republic of Singapore, the Governors of the Reserve Banks of New Zealand and Australia, Sir John Anderson KBE, and the chief executives of major companies, including Shell, Comalco, NZ Dairy Board, Fisher & Paykel, Fonterra, IBM, Qantas and the Westpac Banking Corporation.  In 2007, the guest speaker was Dr Nicki Crauford, CEO of the Institute of Directors to New Zealand, in 2008, Dr Paul Reynolds, CEO of the New Zealand Telecom Group, in 2009 Greg Pellegrino, Public Sector Industry Leader of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu USA and in 2010 Rob Fyfe, CEO of Air New Zealand. 

This year the 2011 MPs' Business Briefing was held on Tuesday 5 July in the Banquet Hall of Parliament's Executive Wing, with guest speaker Andrew Ferrier, Chief Executive of Fonterra.  

Business-visit Seminars for MPs

Yet another extension of the Trust’s Business Study Programme scheme includes a one-day seminar to visit the premises of a corporate member.  These are one-day visits to the premises of a corporate member and are designed to provide MPs with an intensive introduction to a business organisation, providing the MPs with an opportunity to widen their knowledge of business in general and a specific organisation in particular.

In previous years, groups of MPs have been hosted by Genesis Energy, Auckland International Airport, New Zealand Post, Talley’s Fisheries, Todd Energy, TVNZ, the New Zealand Refining Company and (last year) KiwiRail. 

All MPs who have attended the one-day Business Seminars for MPs have been impressed with the programmes provided which have offered real insights into the operations of the hosting corporate members.  Presentations have been equally of a high standard and with plenty of scope for questions from individual MPs.  The feedback from attending members has in all cases been very positive with the comment “extremely informative and insightful day” best summing up the overall view on the value of each of one-day seminars.

In 2011 the one-day Business Seminar for MPs was hosted by St John at their premises in Auckland.  An excellent day's programme had been put together featuring all of the key components of St John's activities, including some hands-on CPR training for attendees, as well as getting out on the road to respond to calls to the ambulance service.  The day also highlighted the wide range of services which St John provides to the community. Those who attended found it most worthwhile and came away with a much better understanding of the services and the challenges facing St John as it seeks to work for the enhancement of the health and well-being of all New Zealanders.

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