The New Zealand Business and Parliament Trust has been addressing the knowledge gap between Members of Parliament and the business community through a range of training programmes, attachments and seminars.

The Early Days

A one page ‘Proposal for the setting Up of a New Zealand Business and Parliament Trust’ formed the basis of the early discussion with parliamentary and business leaders.  A prerequisite for the successful establishment of a trust to bring politicians and the business community closer was the imprimatur of the leadership of Parliament.  In June 1991 the late Sir Patrick Goodman then chair of Goodman Fielder Wattie and a special trade ambassador for New Zealand and Lindsay McCallum, then general manager of the PR firm Network Communications,  presented their proposal to Acting Prime Minister the Rt Hon Don (later Sir Donald) McKinnon MP and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Robin (later Sir Robin) Gray MP. Both were supportive of the concept.

These approaches to key political and business leaders in New Zealand resulted in the establishment of the New Zealand Business and Parliament Trust, with the Speaker of the House of Representatives as President and a representative of the Corporate membership as Chairman.

At the core of the Trust’s proposed activities aimed at developing improved reciprocal understanding, influenced by the British model of the Industry & Parliament Trust were parliamentary seminars for business people and attachments of MPs to corporate members.

The Trust was registered as a Charitable Trust on 25 November 1991 and launched on 11 December 1991, with Foundation Members approved from early 1992.

The first Trust Board met on 11 December 1991 and comprised seven members of Parliament, including the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, and six business leaders.

It adopted the following as its main objectives:

  • Enable MPs to widen their commercial experience in and increase their knowledge of business;

  • Improve business managers’ understanding of how government is exercised through Parliament.

Sir Patrick Goodman and Lindsay McCallum, can without question be identified as parents of an organisation that now celebrates three plus decades of acknowledged achievement.


A full programme of Trust activities started with the first Parliamentary Study Programme held in Parliament. The programme garnered unanimous approval from all fourteen participating businesspeople, marking a successful outset for the Trust's endeavours.


Corporate members and Members of Parliament came together at a luncheon hosted by the Trust in honour of Mr Lee Kwan Yew, the Senior Minister of Singapore.


the Trust reached 200 total attendees for its Parliamentary seminars and saw the introduction of the MPs’s Briefing in the same year. In 1996, the Trust introduced the Parliamentary Attachment Programme, which Involved MPs hosting business executives to learn about the work of an MP. In that same year, the Trust held its first in a series of President’s Dinners, which was initially to mark the first five years of operation.


The Trust was instrumental in setting up the International Association of Business and Parliament  representing seven similar schemes in the world. At the recommendation of MPs, the Trust commenced its support for the Youth Parliament by sponsoring a competition, continuing to sponsor it to this day


The Trust contributed to the 44th  Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Wellington hosted by the Speaker of the House of Representatives Sir Douglas Lorimer Kidd KNZM. 


In a historic first, the August Parliamentary Seminar was attended by the Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives, Hon Neil Andrew MP.  


The Trust’s tenth anniversary dinner was attended by Prime Minister Rt Hon Helen Clark. The Business Council of Australia sent its General  Manager to Wellington, with interest to set up a similar organisation covering the federal parliamentary scene. 


The office of the Trust in the Parliamentary Library was refurbished. 


The Trust was represented at events marking the 10th anniversary of the International Association of Business & Parliament (IABP). In the following year, the Trust established a website independent from IABP.


The Trust successfully registered under the 2005 Charities Act, affirming its nonpartisan educational role. To advance education to the community in advancing the work of Parliament, the Trust financially supported the digitalisation of the Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives.

The Trust Board established the Trust Awards and Scholarship Fund with Victoria University of Wellington, to promote scholarly research. 


20th anniversary of the Trust was celebrated on 4 April 2012.  A book on the History of the Trust, entitled Towards a Better Understanding written by John R Martin was written to mark the occasion.


The Business Overview Series was launched in 2013, replacing the MPs Business Briefing. 

New branding for the Trust was also introduced along with a new website. 


A new Select Committee seminar was introduced and confirmed as an annual event.

The University of Canterbury scholarship established, to help the University and community in the recovery from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.


 Travel Assistance Programme for school visits to Parliament was established.


The Trust celebrated its 25th Anniversary in December with an updated book entitled ‘A 25 Year Brief History’.  In the Forward by the President of the Trust, Rt Hon David Carter MP, states  “that the Trust has gone from strength to strength over the years. The Trust has a rather unique role in advertising Parliament to its Corporate members via the Parliamentary and Select Committee Seminars and to schools via the Travel Assistance programme for school visits to Parliament scheme. It is pleasing to see the increase in membership of the Trust and despite the pressures on the time of both Members of Parliament and Corporate members, the interest in the Business Study Programme attachments continues to grow”.


A comprehensive rebranding campaign, which encompassed a refresh of its logo and a revamp of its website was undertaken.

As part of its focus on education, the Trust took significant steps to support academic excellence in the fields of Politics and Public Policy, by establishing prizes at the universities of Auckland, Waikato, Canterbury, and Otago.


A new full day seminar entitled Machinery of Government – Taking a Closer Look seminar was introduced replacing the half-day Select Committee seminar. 

The Trust also expanded its outreach efforts, by joining LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.


Throughout COVID-19 period, the Trust showed great agility in the delivery of key objectives. Seminars continued in some cases but other members events  and business attachment programme for Members of Parliament were curated. The Trust’s membership remained loyal and has allowed the Trust to move from this pandemic to the new normal successfully.


Soft launch of the Trust's new webpage.

Marked the Trust’s thirtieth anniversary on 11 December at a Wellington Stakeholders' event in the Speaker’s Lounge, Parliament House.


Procedures of closing down one Parliament and the establishment of a new Parliament and Government. 

The Trust in partnership with Victoria University of Wellington, approved the establishment of a new prize in conjunction with the Honours and Masters programme offered at the School of Business and Government, Victoria University of Wellington. The inaugural prize will be awarded at the end of the 2024 academic year.