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New Structure Confirmed for NZ China Council


NZ China Council Chair Sir Don McKinnon has announced a new governance and membership structure to improve the Council’s operational effectiveness and enhance the diversity of its membership.

The new structure will provide for a larger membership drawn from government agencies, business and the wider community. The current Executive Board will be replaced by a smaller Executive Committee appointed by the Council as a whole. The current Advisory Board will be replaced with Working Groups focused on key areas.

The new structure follows a review initiated by the Council in late 2018. Sir Don says the Council’s core mandate continues as previously, as a New Zealand-led, and New Zealand- funded organisation which focuses on building strength and resilience in the relationship.

“Council members will include individuals and organisations who have significant expertise in, or who engage significantly with China. They will reflect the diverse makeup of people involved in the New Zealand China relationship, across gender, age, ethnicity and geographic location,” Sir Don says.

New appointments to the Council have also been announced, as well as the departure of several existing members. New members are: Arihia Bennett, Chief Executive, Ngai Tahu; Dr Heida Donegan, Partner at Kensington Swan; Rob Hall, Chair of the Christchurch China Forum; Richard Leung, Chair of the New Zealand Chinese Association; Derek McCormack, Vice-Chancellor of AUT; John McKinnon, Former Ambassador to China; Andrew Poole, Chief Executive and Managing Partner of Minter Ellison; Fran O’Sullivan, Managing Director of NZ Inc; Mark Tanner, Managing Director of China Skinny. Further appointments are expected to be announced in the new year.

Sir Don expressed his appreciation to departing Council members; Rt Hon Jenny Shipley, Tony Browne, Grant Guilford, Arthur Loo and Cathy Quinn. Thanks were also expressed to members of the Council’s Advisory Board.

As already announced, Executive Director Stephen Jacobi is stepping down, having held his role since 2016. Sir Don says a successor will be appointed in his place in the new year.

“I would like to recognise Stephen Jacobi for his work to build greater strength and resilience into New Zealand’s relationship with China, and for implementing the outcome of the review”.

December 16, 2019