ANZLF 2019 Dinner

Event ANZLF 2019 Dinner

Speaker Jennifer Westacott, chief executive, Business Council of Australia

Venue Crowne Plaza Auckland, 128 Albert Street, Auckland

Delivery 6.30pm (NZST), 12 September 2019

Thank you, Minister Birmingham.

Can I commend you for your great leadership of Australia’s trade agenda.

Australia is in a magnificent position.

We now have trade agreements with:

−          Korea

−          Japan

−          China, and

−          Indonesia

The minister has revived the TPP and we are on track for negotiations with the EU and Britain.

I’m Jennifer Westacott, the Chief Executive of the Business Council of Australia.

I’m delighted to be in Auckland.

And, I’m delighted for the Business Council to be partnering with the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum and Business New Zealand to host tonight’s dinner.

It is my great honour and privilege to introduce Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The Prime Minister will speak shortly, followed by a question and answer session moderated by Ann Sherry, the co-chair of the ANZLF.

So, to the Prime Minister of this great nation.

You have championed the fact that a wealthy society must be a wealthy society for everyone.

You have championed the fact that prosperity cannot equal homelessness or inadequate services.

You are among the first leaders in the world to put forward a wellbeing budget.

You have a laser focus on training because you understand that in a rapidly changing economy people must be equipped with the skills to thrive.

Your economy remains robust and continues to grow.

But as you rightly say – and as we, the Business Council of Australia fundamentally believe – it must be for the benefit of everyone.

These are genuine commitments of yours.

They are the ultimate expression of you as a true conviction politician.

Leadership is one of those concepts that people write lengthy textbooks about.

Leadership is also one of those concepts that people have wildly different views about.

I believe the truest thing you can say about leadership is that you know it when you see it.

And, mostly we witness true leadership under the most challenging circumstances.

On the fifteenth of March, we saw your leadership shine through New Zealand’s darkest of days.

When you embraced those who had sought refuge and a better life here, saying “New Zealand is their home, they are us’’

−          you showed us what true leadership is.

When you said of the perpetrator “you may have chosen us – we utterly reject and condemn you’’

−          you showed us what true leadership is.

When you implored people to “speak the names of those who were lost, rather than name of the man who took them’’

−          you showed us what true leadership is.

When you the comforted people whose grief is unimaginable, and told them “we can walk with you at every stage’’

−          you showed us what true leadership is.

And, when you rose above political expediency and took decisive action instead of promising vengeance and attributing wider blame

−          you showed us what true leadership is.

Each day you do as you say -- to strive to be true to the words embedded in your national anthem -- to make your “country good and great’’.

Your leadership has been an inspiration to all of us and the world is a better place for it.

Please join me in welcoming New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.