Ex-phone company boss named new Housing NZ chairman
Dr Allan Freeth - the TelstraClear boss who once branded the government's Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) rollout "network socialism" has been appointed chairman of Housing New Zealand.
Dr Freeth retired from TelstraClear as the company was taken over by Vodafone.
During his time as the telco's CEO, he was never shy of contoversy - including his assertion that TelstraClear's partnership with Sky TV had reached a "pain point" (an opinion not shared by Russell Stanners, CEO of the combined TelstraClear-Vodafone).
New chair and board members for Housing NZ
Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith today announced the appointment of Dr Allan Freeth as chair, and Ian Kearney and Jeff Meltzer as members of the board of Housing New Zealand.
“Dr Allan Freeth is an astute businessman with a social conscience which is exactly the type of person we need at the helm of the country’s largest landlord,” Dr Smith says.
“He has a wealth of experience and expertise in corporate and executive leadership, most recently as chief executive of TelstraClear and managing director of Wrightson Limited. He also has extensive experience in governance roles in a range of sectors including as a director at Genesis Research and Development Corporation and GNS Science, as a board member of Save the Children Fund, as a trustee and director of Crimestoppers NZ, and as deputy chair of Film New Zealand.
“I’d also like to thank deputy chair Adrienne Young-Cooper for holding the fort since the departure of former chair Dr Alan Jackson in June.”
Dr Freeth and the two new board members have all been appointed for three year terms.
“Ian Kearney brings a combination of infrastructure, property and governance skills to the board. His wide range of experience, both here and in Australia includes being an executive director of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, serving on the boards of Marlborough Cheese, Extract Solutions and the Nelson Airport, and as chair of the Cawthron Institute and Network Tasman Limited,” Dr Smith says.
“Jeff Meltzer is an experienced Auckland accountant who operates a specialist insolvency practice and serves on the Institute of Chartered Accountants’ Disciplinary Tribunal. He is also a director of Fidelity Life Assurance and his senior accountancy skills will be of great value to the board and the Audit and Risk Committee in particular.
“These three appointees will add strength to the board as it works on implementing Housing New Zealand’s record $2.9 billion investment over the next three years to ensure its portfolio of 69,000 state houses are in the right place, are of the right size, and are of good quality.
“The board also has an important role to play in the major changes outlined in the Social Housing Reform Bill currently before a select committee. These include growing the community provision of social housing and ensuring those with the highest housing need take priority.”