Good cause debate aims to stimulate Auckland intellect

The first ASB Great Debate at Auckland's SkyCity on August 31 is a fundraiser for Starship and Kidney Kids.

In the great “Contribution Stakes” do lawyers contribute more than accountants?

Leading accounting and legal personalities will thrash this out at the first ASB Great Debate at Auckland’s SkyCity on August 31 as a fundraiser for Starship and Kidney Kids.

The event – which is intended will become an annual big night out – is designed to be an entertaining and engaging evening to enjoy what organisers say is the “art of not taking ourselves too seriously".

Interest is high, with a number of tables sold already.

Accountants have been quick to enlist outspoken, knowledgeable, intelligent and not always politically correct Bruce Sheppard as their team leader, ably supported by Lyle Irwin from RSM Prince and Mary Jane Daly, formerly of IAG and BNZ.

Equally outspoken and high-profile Otago university law dean Mark Henaghan heads the legal team, along with public law specialist Mai Chen and Auckland Crown solicitor Simon Moore, QC.

The ticket-only event, which is organised by International Entertainment New Zealand and the Rotary Club of Auckland and supported by the National Business Review – will include a live auction on the night and a silent auction.

IENZ chairman Michael Masterson told NBR live videographers would ask members of the audience – those at the higher-priced tables, sponsors, key people and well-known individuals – their opinions on the debate topic, which would be displayed during the evening along with Twitter feeds.

Mr Masterson said a “gaping hole” existed in Auckland for an evening out which was entertaining, intellectually stimulating and conducive to conversations and relationship building.

Evenings out in Auckland fell into four categories, he said:

  • A pleasant, generally black tie, but long and not especially entertaining or intellectually–stimulating awards evening or fundraise.
  • A sporting match – usually rugby or boxing, and not always a great way to build a relationship with key contacts and partners.

  • Ballet or opera, neither of which were conducive to conversation, relationship building and not attractive to everyone.
  • Comedy clubs, which were entertaining but not somewhere to comfortably take key staff and their partners.

Broadcaster and comedian Paul Ego – who the organisers say will be able to manage challenging individuals and difficult situations – is the adjudicator.

• Tickets can be bought at:

• For Facebook page see ASB Great Debate

• Email to or phone 09 282 3844 or 021 741 742.

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