ABOUT PAUL FOSTER-BELL
With whakapapa in the Far North (Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa and Te Aupouri being his main iwi affiliations) and Europe (English, Scots, Irish and Portuguese heritage), Paul represented New Zealand overseas as a diplomat, mainly in the Middle East, until being elected a Member of Parliament in 2013. He came into Parliament with a solid background working closely with exporters and service providers to promote and gain access for their products. Paul also partnered with other ‘NZ Inc’ agencies and negotiated with foreign counterparts to advance New Zealand’s interests, as well as delivering practical support to Kiwis in the form of consular services.
As an MP, Paul enjoyed engaging with industry sectors and key stakeholders to resolve problems - from visa difficulties for recruiting talent, to regulatory burdens. Paul served as Deputy Chair of three select committees: Justice, Education & Science and Government Administration, as well as a member of the Health and Local Government and Environment committees - which between them covered a wide range of the key services which New Zealanders depend upon. Paul chaired the Government Education Caucus 2014-17; and was the Pacific Regional Representative on the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in London.
POINTS OF EXCELLENCE
Paul’s key strengths include being:
A SKILLED PROMOTER OF NEW ZEALAND’S SUCCESS OFFSHORE. Paul relished championing our exports, our ethical stances on issues such as disarmament and human rights, and our efficient regulatory settings abroad, including in multilateral fora. Paul enjoyed working alongside exporters from a diverse range of industries - from primary producers to value-added food and beverage manufacturers, from high-tech electronics firms to consultants offering smart services, Paul supported them all with equal flair and finesse.
A SOUND MANAGER WITH GOOD JUDGMENT. Paul has managed multi-million dollar budgets, large and complicated projects, contracts in challenging foreign jurisdictions, multi-cultural staff teams covering a wide suite of disciplines (from gardeners and drivers, through to translators and policy researchers), high-value building portfolios, top-level security and ICT, and the overall setup of NZ posts abroad in some of the world’s toughest and most hostile environments. Back at home, Paul oversaw policy output and quality control in Wellington units servicing New Zealand Ministers of the Crown. Receiving several rare performance commendations, Paul had lengthy periods as Acting Head of Mission, which requires sufficient maturity of judgment to know when to act on one's own initiative and when an issue warrants being referred back to headquarters.
A CLEAR COMMUNICATOR. Through experience in the print media, radio, television news and long form TV interviews - and online - Paul has shown himself to be a crisp and clear communicator with an ability to stay ‘on message’ and to master the fine detail of his subject matter. He is a convincing and eloquent public speaker, whether in the formal setting of the debating chamber, or MC-ing industry dinners.
A POWERFUL PROPONENT OF REGULATORY REFORM. Paul has very constructive relationships across all parties in Parliament and a proven track record of operating in a non-partisan way to achieve outcomes, as evidenced by his success in passing Anzac Day liquor licencing deregulation with unanimous support in 2016. He lobbied hard for changes to beer excise timing (to be charged at time of distribution rather than at the point of manufacture) to bring these in line with the wine industry, saving small craft brewers a lot of cash flow headaches.
AN OUTSTANDING NETWORKER WITH GREAT ACCESS. Paul’s extensive network across business sectors and within the wider government establishment enable him to engage key decision makers to advance the interests of industry stakeholders. In various international positions and in parliamentary select committees he has demonstrated a firm understanding of the different roles of governance and management, and ability to execute in each.
Anzac Day, Tehran, 2008
Representing the Pacific Region at the Commonwealth, London 2016
Being interviewed for One News
on NewsTalk ZB's Tim Fookes Show