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NZ’s most powerful revealed


News release
Sunday November 6, 2005

NZ’s most powerful revealed

Power can be fickle and the NZ Listener’s second annual list of the most influential New Zealanders just goes to show it.

Helen Clark remains at number one but the 2005 list of the 50 most powerful people in New Zealand has proven to be a volatile barometer of who’s up, who’s down and who’s out.

Released today, the list illustrates older Pakeha males are power’s closest friends. Even so, more than 40 per cent of those on the list are new this year.

Selected by an independent panel for the NZ Listener, the list ‘identifies the people who influence and shape the lives, lifestyles and values of New Zealanders in 2005’.

Politicians play a leading role, probably a given in an election year. Helen Clark, Dr Michael Cullen and Dr Don Brash are our three most powerful and they are joined by Winston Peters (#7) and John Key (#9) in the top 10.

And buoyant economic times have seen business and the media high up the power list this year.

Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard comes in at #4, movie mogul Peter Jackson at #5, the country’s richest man Graeme Hart at #6, Telecom CEO Theresa Gattung at #8 and Brent Impey, CanWest CEO at #10.

Impey sneaks into the top 10 at the expense of Ian Fraser, there until a highly-publicised spat with the TVNZ Board just a few days ago.

NZ Listener deputy editor Tim Watkin says the list is compiled by a panel of people who know about power.

“First, we define what power is,” Watkin says. “As a way of setting some boundaries and keeping it indigenous, people on the list must be New Zealanders living predominantly in New Zealand.”

“We were surprised at the number of new people elbowing their way onto the list. The PM still rules the roost but behind there are some fascinating new faces making their influence felt in business, sport science and politics. I think people will be intrigued by who really holds power in this country.”

One thing this year’s list does is undermine those obsessed with political correctness, and the idea that minority concerns are running the country. Nine on the list are Maori -– one down from last year.

Just two are Pacific Islanders. There are two women in the top 10 in 2005, compared to just Helen Clark last year. But overall the number of women on the list falls from 10 to seven.

The result is sure to provoke debate Watkin says but older, Pakeha males remain power’s closest friends.

The selection panel comprised former government minister and historian Michael Bassett, award winning NZ Listener political columnist Jane Clifton, Leadership NZ trustee Pauline Kingi, Chris Doig, opera singer and business leader, finance journalist Rod Oram, environmentalist Dr Jacqueline Rowarth and advertising industry leader Glenda Wynyard.

Key changes in the top 10 most powerful people between 2004 and 2005 are:

2005 / 2004 / Shift
1 Clark, Helen Prime Minister / Clark, Helen Prime Minister / No change
2 Cullen, Dr Michael Finance Minister / Jackson, Peter Movie Director / Cullen - up 1 Jackson down 3
3 Brash, Dr Don Opposition Leader / Cullen, Dr Michael Finance Minister / Brash - up 3
Cullen - up 1
4 Bollard, Dr Alan Reserve Bank Governor / Bollard, Dr Alan Reserve Bank Governor / No change
5 Jackson, Peter Movie Director / Fraser, Ian TVNZ CEO / Jackson - down 3 Fraser off the list
6 Hart, Graham NZ’s richest man / Brash, Dr Don Opposition Leader / Hart – up 38 Brash - up 3
7 Peters, Winston NZ First Leader / Deane, Dr Roderick Telecom & Fletcher Building Chairman / Peters – up 9 Deane - down 11
8 Gattung, Theresa Telecom CEO / Norris, Ralph Air NZ CEO / Gattung up 13 Norris off the list
9 Key, John MP / Jones, Shane Waitangi Fisheries & Sealord Chairman / Key – new entry Jones drops 16
10 Brent Impey CanWest CEO / Tamihere, John MP for Hauraki / Impey up 14 Tamihere - off the list

NZ Listener Power List 2005:

1 Clark, Helen (PM)
2 Cullen, Dr Michael (Finance Minister)
3 Brash, Dr Don (Opposition leader)
4 Bollard, Dr Alan (Reserve Bank Governor)
5 Jackson, Peter (Movie director)
6 Hart, Graham (NZ’s richest man)
7 Peters, Winston (NZ First leader)
8 Gattung, Theresa (Telecom CEO)
9 Key, John (MP)
10 Impey, Brent (CanWest MediaWorks CEO)
11 Fellet, John (Sky Network TV)
12 Anderson, Sir John (ANZ Bank CEO, NZ Cricket chair)
13 Hillary, Edmund (Mountaineer)
14 Henry, Graham (All Black coach)
15 Campbell, Michael (Champion golfer)
16 Mallard, Trevor (Labour MP)
17 Deane, Dr Roderick (Telecom chairman)
18 Campbell, John (TV presenter)
19 Sharples, Dr Pita (Maori Party co-leader)
20 Turia, Tariana (Maori Party co-leader)
21 Simpson, Heather (PM’s chief of staff)
22 Umaga, Tana (All Black captain)
23 Jones, Shane (MP and Maori Fisheries chair)
24 Whitehead, John (Secretary of the Treasury)
25 Morgan, Sam (Trade Me founder)
26 Tindall, Stephen (Warehouse founder and tech investor)
27 Belgrave, John (Chief Ombudsman)
28 Elias, Sian (Chief Justice)
29 Norgate, Craig (Wrightson deputy chair)
30 Little, Andrew (EPMU head)
31 Prendergast, Kerry (Wellington Mayor)
32 Dunne, Peter (United Future leader)
33 Prebble, Dr Mark (State Services commissioner)
34 McCutcheon, Prof Stuart (Auckland University VC)
35 McLeod, Rob (ex-Ernst & Young; Business Roundtable)
36 Brotha D (Music executive)
37 Deaker, Murray (Radio host)
38 Sherwin, Murray (MAF Director-General)
39 Callaghan, Professor Paul (Scientist)
40 Stead, Frances (L’Oreal Managing Director)
41 Hubbard, Alan (South Island businessman)
42 Turner, Keith (Meridian Energy CEO)
43 Hotere, Ralph (Artist)
44 Kawharu, Sir Hugh (Ngati Whatua kaumatua)
45 West, Dr Andrew (AgResearch CEO)
46 Solomon, Mark (Ngai Tahu rununga chair)
47 Edgar, Eion (Stockbroker, trustee)
48 Fraser, Prof Graeme (Health Research Council Chair)
49 Morrison, Lloyd (Infratil chair)
50 Maharey, Steve (Labour MP)


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