Bruce Katz

Bruce Katz – Inaugural Centennial Scholar – Brookings Institute – a  nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C. He founded and previously served as director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, which aims to provide decision makers in the public, corporate, and civic sectors with policy ideas for improving the health and prosperity of cities and metropolitan areas.  He is also co-author of the ground breaking book ‘The New Localism”.  To read more about Bruce …


Craig Richard

Chair of International Economic Development Council.

Craig J. Richard was selected to serve as the president and CEO of Invest Atlanta in December 2014. He is a seasoned economic development professional of nearly 20 years and is regarded as a collaborative leader with strengths in marketing, business development, entrepreneurial development, workforce development, global commerce, strategic planning and managing talented teams to achieve desired results. His economic development experiences range from neighborhood-level community development and regional chambers of commerce to state economic development.  To read more about Craig …

Alan Johnson

Author of ‘State of the Nation’ Report – Salvation Army

State of the Nation is now in its ninth year, and it’s become something special. You find in our society that only things that are important to the ‘important’ people are measured and analysed. So, in our report, we’ve tried to be a witness for the issues that affect vulnerable New Zealanders by measuring things like unemployment, child poverty, people going to jail, and homelessness.

As the senior policy analyst [and interim director] for The Salvation Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit, I undertake social research and policy analysis, so we can advocate for vulnerable people and seek changes to make New Zealand a better society.  To read more about Alan …

Ben Lucas

Ben leads major strategy projects for Metrodynamic clients across the UK. He is an expert on the political and economic drivers that are needed for growth and how to shape narratives that best reflect these. He advises places on governance, inclusive growth and how best to work with Westminster and Whitehall.

Before becoming a Founding Director of Metro Dynamics, Ben had a long career in public policy and communications, advising cities, businesses and charities on how best to achieve their public affairs objectives. He has worked with Ministers, Officials and Local Government Leaders on a range of public policy issues, has set up and run a public affairs consultancy and two highly influential Commissions, the 2020 Public Services Commission and the RSA City Growth Commission.

Dr David Wilson

Dr David Wilson, CEO of Northland Inc, Chair of EDNZ and Member of the PGF Advisory Panel

David has been involved with a wide variety of projects in local and regional economic development, metropolitan, business and industry sector development, corporate citizenship, governance, sustainable economic and socio-economic development.

David Wilson, who since 2007 has been director of the Institute of Public Policy at AUT University, took up his new Whangarei-based role leading the regional economic development agency and tourism organisation in September 2013.

As director of AUT’s Institute of Public Policy, Dr Wilson designed and led an academic programme dedicated to economic development professionals. He holds a PhD in regional economic development.  To read more about David …

Sir Mark Solomon

Tā Mark Solomon is committed to the betterment of his Iwi, the kotahitanga of all Māori, and the wider wellbeing of all peoples. He is a strong advocate for the Māori economy and was instrumental in setting up the Iwi Chairs Forum in 2005.

He is the elected Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, a position he has held since 1998, and he has represented his local Papatipu Rūnanga, Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura since 1995 and is the current chair. He was recognised in the 2013 Queen’s New Year Honours with a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and Business. In late 2012 he was named Visionary Leader of 2012 in the Deloitte and New Zealand Management magazine National Business Awards.  To read more about Sir Mark …

Shot by James Griffin of Edgeline Photography | www.edgeline.co.nz

Benje Patterson

Benje is a key part of the regional team at Infometrics and has a strong awareness of how macroeconomic factors affect sectoral and regional outcomes.

As part of the regional team, his key responsibilities involve writing regionally-focused economic commentaries and articles, as well as delivering presentations and workshops to clients interested in region-specific economic information.  He also has experience leading projects and writing commentaries on a range of topics including: aviation, tourism, fiscal policy, monetary policy, trade, and the international economy. To read more about Benje …


Hon Shane Jones - Minister for Regional Economic Development

Shane Jones is a List MP based in Kerikeri. He was Ambassador for Pacific Economic Development, with a particular focus on fisheries, agriculture and tourism, given the significance of these resources to enhancing economic development in the region.

Mr Jones was a Member of Parliament from 2005 - 2014. During his nine years in Parliament, Mr Jones held positions that included Minister of Building and Construction, Associate Minister of Immigration, Associate Minister of Trade, Associate Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, and Chair of the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee. Read more ...

Fletcher Tabuteau, Parliamentary Under Secretary, Regional Economic Develoment

Fletcher Tabuteau has been a member of New Zealand First since its inception. He believes that New Zealand First represents common sense and has always had a forthright and clear direction for New Zealand’s future encapsulated in the party’s name.

Growing up in Rotorua, Fletcher spent years working in the tourism industry. He has worked in retail and ran his own consulting business specialising in marketing and business communications. Before entering Parliament, Fletcher was a secondary teacher in maths and social studies, and a lecturer in economics and business.  Read more ...


Mayor Dave Cull

President of LGNZ and Mayor of Dunedin City Council

Dave was appointed President of LGNZ in July 2017.  He was Vice President of LGNZ from December 2016 - July 2017 and is the Mayor of Dunedin City Council.

He was elected Dunedin City Council Mayor at the 2010 local body elections. Since 2007, Dave has been heavily involved in the Dunedin community having sat on various steering groups and committees covering economic development, technology and the environment.  Read more ...

Rob Edwards

On stage or in-house Rob’s purpose is to provide a meaningful and memorable experience that leaves people focused on looking after their most important asset, themselves. A long history of developing his craft ensures plenty of laughter and messages that stick. His professionalism off stage makes life easy for event organisers.

His experience working with people at all levels of business, cardiac patients, young offenders, elite athletes and remote island communities gives a communication style that genuinely connects with any audience. He’s been speaking professionally for 20 years and was one of only two Australians to receive the internationally recognized status of Certified Speaking Professional in 2012 (it’s pretty tough to get).

John Hutchings

John is an active analyst comfortable operating on location and in a real time environment. With a long background in the primary sector he understands the challenges of sectors, the impact and pressures of international markets and on-farm challenges.

John has a deep understanding of central and local government policy in relevant areas and institutional arrangements, particularly constraints and opportunities under the RMA and LGA.

His key practice areas include: Manager, Sustainability with Fonterra – engaging with regions on dairy development potential; managing to environmental limits – formerly an advisor on environmental matters to the Prime Minister and Cabinet; public policy – an early career with Local Government New Zealand and the Taranaki Regional Council, plus a public policy qualification; stakeholder facilitation – facilitating focus groups to generate clear consensus positions amongst stakeholders; research and analysis – capacity to communicate, research, analyse and deliver quality outputs within agreed deadlines.

Nigel Bickle - Leader of Provincial Development Unit, MBIE

Nigel is Head of the Provincial Development Unit (PDU) which was established in March 2018 in response to the increased emphasis by the Government on regional economic development.

The PDU is home to the Provincial Growth Fund team, the Sector Workforce Engagement Programme (SWEP) team and the He Poutama Rangatahi team.

Nigel is responsible for leading the Provincial Growth Fund’s design and administration, as well as monitoring its operation in consultation with other government agencies.

Prior to leading the PDU, Nigel was Deputy Chief Executive of Immigration New Zealand for eight years.

An experienced senior public service leader with an extensive background in change management, service delivery and policy, Nigel has been a public servant for over 20 years. He came to Immigration New Zealand from the Department of Building and Housing where he worked for nine years, most recently as Deputy Chief Executive, Sector Capability having started his career with 10 years at the Department of Social Welfare. The majority of his experience is in front-line service delivery, in a number of operational and support leadership roles specifically within complex organisations undertaking change.

In 2000 he won a Chevening Aotearoa Fellowship to study in England. He was in the first intake for the Executive Leadership Programme and graduated in 2006 with an Executive Masters of Public Administration.

Julian Wood

Julian works on the Maxim Institute's economics project, primarily examining regional development in New Zealand. With a Master’s in Social Science from Waikato University, Julian brings a depth of experience from his time working as a senior policy analyst for the Department of Labour, where he focused on labour market dynamics, minimum wage and employment legislation, regional development, business dynamics, and immigration.

Peter McKinlay - Local Government think tank

Peter is the Executive Director of MDL. His specialist interests are public policy and local governance, the design of governance structures and organisational strategy. In addition to his consulting work, he is a regular author, presenter and commentator on the future role and function of local government.

Peter is also a Research Associate at the NZ Institute for Governance and Policy Studiesat Victoria University of Wellington.

Dr Paul Collits

Paul Collits is a 'pracademic' with over 25 years experience working in economic development in Australia and New Zealand, in policy analysis, practice, research, teaching and consultancy. He has worked in universities, parliaments and state and local governments.

Paul has a BA (HONS) and MA degrees in political science (Australian National University) and a PhD in geography and planning (University of New England, Australia). He has written and presented widely on many aspects of economic development. His particular interests are in economic development strategies and action plans, regional governance, rural town economic development, building entrepreneurship ecosystems, creativity and innovation.

Paul currently lives in Waipukurau NZ and teaches in the Business School at Hawke's Bay Eastern Institute of Technology, where he is an Adjunct Associate Professor. He is a NZ Business mentor, a Young Enterprise Scheme mentor (a special joy) and is NZ"s point man for Purdue (Indiana) University's Agile Strategy Lab ' strategic doing' work.

Patrick McVeigh - Master of Ceremonies

Patrick will act as the conference MC.

Patrick moved to New Zealand in 2013 and has since led business, innovation and skills programmes at Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED). He oversaw the delivery of key initiatives, including the development of the Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct (GridAKL), the Auckland Youth Employer Pledge, JobFest, TechWeek, IdeaStarter and Digmyidea.

Patrick also led ATEED’s economic insight and analysis programme. This included the development of the Auckland Growth Monitor and Index, the Auckland Innovation Dashboard, the Local Economic Development Masterclass, and the Auckland Economic Insight series, including recent reports on the Circular Economy and Growing Prosperity.

Patrick’s strong consultancy background is based on a deep foundation of eight years’ experience in public policy and economic development consulting in London, where he worked with local, regional and central government clients.  Patrick has recently joined MartinJenkins.

Te Ngaronoa Mahanga - host of the MBIE Gala Award Dinner

Te is a man of many talents, a musician, a MC extraordinaire and an economic development professional.  Te will be hosting our MBIE Gala Awards Dinner and bringing to the event his unique style and humour.

Currently working for Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) as an Industry Development Coordinator in the Māori Economic Development team.

Te Ngaronoa has run the DIGMYIDEA – Māori Innovation Challenge over the last two years which is designed to bring together aspiring Māori digital entrepreneurs looking to transform an idea into a sustainable business. Te Ngaronoa also writes and performs Māori Hip Hop that aims to uplift Māori culture by celebrating Māori values, stories and aspirations, in a fun, melodic manner.

Find Te Ngaronoa’s Kaupapa Driven EP on Spotify and Apple Music.