Dame Jenny Shipley reflects on Mainzeal collapse

Jenny Shipley (TVNZ)

Free audio stream, including stories that are padlocked on our site. Listen on any device, anywhere. Updated twice daily. The audio stream takes several seconds to start on Android devices.

Launch Radio player

Dame Jenny Shipley, who was the independent chairwoman of Mainzeal until she quit just weeks before it collapsed in February, has told TV One’s Q+A programme that the company’s failure led to a period of self-reflection.

“I think any failure, whether it’s losing elections or having a crisis as a chair and director, there are several tests you need to impose on yourself - whether you’ve done your best, and that’s a personal test but also a performance test; if you’ve done something wrong, you have to be prepared to be held to account, and I stand by that view; as a company director, you need to always ask yourself whether you acted in the best interests of the company. Taking employees, your contractors, your customers and clients, the law and so on. I have had to deal with that, and it’s not been easy, but I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve learnt a lot in self-reflection, but I’ve also learnt that companies do sometimes, with the best intention of the world, fail, and now all I’m doing is trying to assist the liquidator to see that whatever we can resurrect from this will assist creditors.”

Dame Jenny told Q+A host Susan Wood she had informed other boards she is a director on about the Mainzeal situation.

“Because if you’re a chair of one company, then the reputation that you carry, the benefits you bring, these are things your peers take into account. I’ve been completely transparent with them, as you would expect me to be,” she says.

Dame Jenny was speaking to Q+A about the upcoming 120th anniversary since women received the vote, and how far women had come since then. Dame Jenny says Kate Sheppard would “cheer in so far as we’ve changed most of the law, and women are equal in the law”, but would be disappointed that in some areas women’s participation was “stuck”.

Less than 15 per cent of NZ’s top 100 companies have women on their boards. She says women offer a different conversation and outlook to a board which can add value to a company.

“Diversity in a boardroom or in a Parliament means that you just have different minds, different life experience, different ways of thinking about patients or customers or voters so that when you bring that intellect, you look at opportunity and risk, and then you have it much better balanced. The boards I chair that are 50/50, we take a much broader view than the boards where I’m a complete minority still.”

This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags

Post Comment

4 Comments & Questions

Commenter icon key: Subscriber Verified

No matter who was in the chair, the Mainzeal affair was an absolute disgrace and yet again a situation were the real people are screwed.

  • 0
  • 0

No need to beat yourself up lessons are learned from setbacks

  • 0
  • 0

What a shame she didn't previously take this period of self-reflection

  • 0
  • 0

Self reflection is good. Learning from horrendous mistakes is good. I know that. But NBR, you have not reported what Dame Jenny learnt. Dame Jenny and your readers can read about what I learnt from my demise, and much more too, including my views on the Mainzeal collapse in my forthcoming book, Life Changing which is due out very soon, and on 3rd Degree 2 October, 2013.

  • 0
  • 0

Post New comment or question

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

NZ Market Snapshot


Sym Price Change
USD 0.7562 0.0026 0.35%
AUD 0.9677 0.0021 0.22%
EUR 0.6759 0.0028 0.42%
GBP 0.4898 0.0008 0.16%
HKD 5.8645 0.0194 0.33%
JPY 90.4760 0.4940 0.55%


Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1209.6 4.680 2015-02-26T00:
Oil Brent 60.0 0.310 2015-02-26T00:
Oil Nymex 48.3 -2.720 2015-02-26T00:
Silver Index 16.6 0.150 2015-02-26T00:


Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 5861.7 5878.5 5861.7 0.29%
NASDAQ 4985.0 4989.2 4987.9 -0.49%
DAX 11337.1 11401.7 11327.2 0.66%
DJI 18224.4 18239.4 18224.6 -0.06%
FTSE 6949.7 6967.2 6949.7 -0.04%
HKSE 24902.6 25102.0 24902.1 -0.32%
NI225 18844.3 18865.4 18785.8 0.06%