Business Council with a mission gains status

Until three years ago, it was an organisation struggling to bring together its members to a common cause with the latter showing more apathy and indifference than involvement and interest.
It had little to speak for itself, leave alone standing up for others in the business community. It had a small presence in Wellington, often living under the shadow of other larger business organisations.
There was a time when the purpose of its existence came under sharp focus with scant interest in its affairs, leave alone anyone keen on assuming official responsibility to carry its mission forward.
Call it good tiding, renewed interest in India or (perhaps more importantly) a more dynamic Executive Committee in place, the India New Zealand Business Council (INZBC) has emerged as a major entity in the Indo-Kiwi equation, with Prime Minister John Key and Trade Minister Tim Groser rating it as an important body with the power to engage in bilateral talks.
Today it boasts of three chapters, one each in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch, a celebrity as its Patron (Sir Richard Hadlee) and a growing membership of important players in the business field.
Those of us on the recent trip to India accompanying Mr Key were witness to the Council’s increasing role in bringing together the businesses of the two countries. 
Increasing importance
The evidence of its increasing importance was manifest in the status of significance which its Chairman Wenceslaus Anthony enjoyed throughout the four-day mission to the world’s largest democracy.
Travelling in the First Class section of the Royal New Zealand Air Force Aircraft, he briefed the Prime Minister about the Indian business community in New Zealand and the possible opportunities in India.
The standing ovation that he received for his speech at the business luncheon in Mumbai on June 28 was a testimony to his oratory power and ability to articulate on issues. 
Mr Anthony was the true ambassador of the community that he represented at various meetings with political and corporate leaders in India.
“I am happy that the New Zealand Government has endorsed INZBC as a pre-eminent body to promote two-way trade and business between the two countries. The Government accorded us the privilege of being a part of the Prime Minister’s delegation,” he said.
The Joint Business Forum held in New Delhi on June 28 was a demonstration of the importance accorded to the INZBC. 
Mr Anthony was a keynote speaker along with Mr Key and India’s Commerce & Industry Minister Anand Sharma at the Forum organised jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), the Associated Chambers of Commerce of India (ASSOCHAM) and the PHD (Punjab, Haryana & Delhi) Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“It was gratifying to note that these organisations got together for the first time to promote international trade and engage in interaction with the business community of another country. ANZ Bank, which has been a staunch supporter of the INZBC in New Zealand, extended its support by hosting the luncheon at the Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi. The Council’s banner was prominent at all meetings and business sessions,” Mr Anthony said.
Enhanced value
He was also present at the State Banquet hosted by India’s Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in honour of Mr Key, his wife Bronagh and the visiting delegation at Hyderabad House on June 28, where he met with Dr Singh, Overseas Indian Affairs & Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi, Opposition Leader Sushma Swaraj and other leaders.
Mr Anthony said the participation of the INZBC in this mission enhanced the value that the business body offers to its members in New Zealand.
“It was heartening to note that a number of our members were included in the Prime Ministerial delegation on their own merit, while a number of others had come on their own to participate in various functions held in Delhi and Mumbai. “Their team spirit and zeal to work for the benefit of the New Zealand economy and the business community were inspiring,” he said. 

New Zealand High Commissioner Jan Henderson introduces Wenceslaus Anthony to India’s Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh 

Picture shows (from left) Sushma Swaraj, Vayalar Ravi, Wenceslaus Anthony and Monica Davis, Acting Chief Executive, Airways Corporation of New Zealand Ltd 

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