PM picks winners with business prizes

Executives in healthcare, engineering and infrastructure companies feature heavily among this year's recipients of the Prime Minister's Business Scholarships.

The scholarships, which were launched in 2010, offer the winners up to $57,000 each to cover half the cost of a business programme at a range of prestigious international schools.

The programmes range from short five-days to 17 months in length at institutions such as Harvard, London Business School and the INSEAD Business School in Singapore and France.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says the scholarships – seen as a pointer to how the government sees future growth areas – are awarded to the "up-and-coming stars of the New Zealand business scene".

However, many of the recipients are already at top management status, such as the ceo and co-founder of Synlait Milk, Dr John Penno, who holds a PhD in animal science from Massey University.

And Hamish Wiig, vice-president of sales for Tait Communications' Latin American operations.

Based in Houston, Mr Wiig heads the sales and marketing strategy for the Christchurch-based company's Latin America business.

Others in the list include:

  • Kathy Meads, the chief financial officer for Lyttelton Port Co.
  • Sally Gardiner, supply chain general manager for global Kiwifruit supplier Zespri.
  • Ronnie Butt, the Hong-Kong-based China and South East Asia general manager for health care products supplier Comvita.
  • Wayne Oxenham, executive vice-president of hospital solutions for Orion Health.
  • Damian Pedreschi, business development manager for engineering company Beca.
  • Paul Stokes, global sales manager for Wynyard Group, a maker of security software to protect against crime and threats.
  • Andy McNicholl, sales and marketing manager for EPL (Elastomer Products Ltd), a Christchurch-based company which makes products for various industries, including construction, marine and agriculture.
  • Michael Kwok, principal consultant for engineering firm Resolve Group.
  • Angus Bargh, transportation planning manager for Downer, as part of Christchurch's infrastructure rebuild team.
  • Corinne Callinan, managing director for Auckland-based hosiery company CXC.
  • Sean Horgan, general manager of business development for power company Northpower.
  • Richard Keys, chief financial officer for Auckland-based Abano healthcare. 

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Well done everyone. This is a great program to help these companies, and people, become part of the future engine of our economy.


This is plain wrong. The cream should be allowed to rise to the top on its own merits.
For the Government to select a few mates and offspring of mates and then give them an advantage using taxpayers coin is just plain wrong.
How about you winner pickers start up a fund for this purpose using money from your salaries? Too flakey? I agree, so why use your citizens funds?


I can tell you from knowing one of the winners that they don't have 'mates' in the government and won based on the merits of their application. Perhaps if you tried being positive rather than putting others down you might get further in life and be happier.


While not wishing to detract from the great efforts of these entrepreneurs, I am uncomfortable with this "picking winners" approach.
John Morrison has it right,the market should reward them if they are providing something of value,not the Government which has a bad record in this area.


Agree with John Morrison. Where is the market failure that can justify my tax dollar being spent like this.

Strange to see a supposed right wing government giving out stars a la Soviet Union style rosettes


Given the huge extra costs needing to be paid by the recipient in this the unfortunate strategy of pick the winner is that only the very well heeled or from companies that can afford it are ever going to be in the running.
The people who deserve to go will never be selected; they can not afford to pay the balance.

Just like most of NZTE scheme’s lets wait till a company/person is successful then lets claim them as our find and assist those that in most cases don’t need it.
Another failed policy.
Having said all that I wish those shown above the best, they have done well but all their companies can well afford to pick up the entire tab for this themselves…


Congratulations to these winners but you have to have some concerns about Govt picking them.
What's wrong with letting the market operate to do this?


I say congratulations.

And good on the government for supporting. Ideally this would be supported by a charity funded by businesses and the wealthy but in the mean time. we need to deepen the pool of talent in NZ.


Just a small Question, Isnt Wynyard Group a UK HQ company?
Does Paul Stokes actually live/work in NZ?

Ok so does that mean that any mulitinational with an office in NZ can compete and take a proper NZ place?
Someone not done there homework perhaps?
Just a thought


Maybe John Penno will learn how to create shareholder value at his flash course . Synlait shares $2.60 in 2007 , now $1 and untradeable.
Here's hoping anyway.


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