Charles Finny

Cell:  +64 27 544 1547

Charles joined the team at Saunders Unsworth in 2010 after five and half years as CEO of the Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce.  Prior to that Charles had a wide range of experience in government working for the Prime Ministers Department, Department of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  His particular areas of expertise are China, US politics and trade policy, Australia, Asia and international trade.  Charles speaks Mandarin.

Charles’ work at Saunders Unsworth to date has focused on tertiary education policy, international trade, aviation policy, ports and shipping policy, infrastructure policy, government procurement, telecommunications policy and energy and natural resources policy.  His clients are both domestic and international.

Charles has spent much of his life working and studying overseas.  He has lived in the United States (New York, Washington DC and San Francisco), London, Hong Kong, Singapore (twice), Beijing and Taipei.  He served as First secretary at the New Zealand High Commission in Singapore, Deputy Head of Mission in Beijing and Head of Mission in Taipei.  Charles was responsible for launching the China-New Zealand FTA as New Zealand’s lead negotiator on this project, prior to moving to the Chamber of Commerce.  Charles was contracted by the New Zealand government to lead the negotiation on the Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Union of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matusu from late 2011 until November 2013.

He has extensive contacts with politicians of all parties and has a wide range of close contacts throughout the bureaucracy and business communities.  He has also done considerable work with the local government sector (he is the former Chair of the Local Government Forum) and has interacted closely with a range of Mayors, Councillors and local body managers.  He is particularly interested in international trade, transport and infrastructure issues, climate change related policy and foreign investment.

Charles serves on the Board of Woolyarns Ltd.  He is the independent Chair of the Port Company CEO Group. He performed a similar role for the New Zealand Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics until June 2019.  He has recently completed 12 years and 2 months on the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Board.  He served on the Victoria University of Wellington Council from 2008-2015 and the New Zealand Film Commission Board 2009-2016 and the Wellington Chamber of Commerce and Business Central Boards for many years - standing down in 2018.  He Chaired the Board of Education New Zealand from 2011 until February 2019. Charles is a Life Member of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce and a Chartered Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Directors.

He has two children.  Aside from his interests in wine, politics and international trade, Charles is a keen golfer. 

Charles supports the Victoria University of Wellington Foundation and the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research.  He regularly donates time to support the work of the Asia New Zealand Foundation, The New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, The New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre, the New Zealand India Research Centre, the New Zealand Centre for International Economic Law, the New Zealand United States Partnership Forum, the Institute of Directors, and the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.

Charles, is from time to time invited to speak at international conferences, here are some papers he presented:

Australian National University, Taiwan's Trade Policy PDF

Stanford University, TPP PDF

Taiwan-US-Japan Trilateral Security Dialogue (TPP)  PDF