Presentations by Roderick Deane and Don Brash to a New Zealand Business Roundtable organised policy forum argued that New Zealand is a resource-rich country and that exploration of Crown land should be allowed.
"We are richer in minerals than we realise," Dr Deane said in a presentation to the Dunes Symposium, at the Formosa Golf Resort in Auckland.
The influential businessman said royalty payments for petroleum and minerals were $517 million in 2008/09 and petroleum exports were worth $2.8 billion, or 6.7 per cent of total exports.
He said petroleum and gold were at, or close to, record production levels and global players were being attracted into potential new petroleum basins in the East Coast and Canterbury basin.
There were 37 petroleum wells drilled in 2009, which was the busiest ever drilling season.
He also said coal exports were growing and significant potential existed in ironsands deposits.
Dr Brash argued that the Government should allow exploration for, and potentially mining of, minerals on Crown land.
The Dunes Symposium is a public policy forum designed to give emerging business leaders insights into good public policy, and to meet and talk with some of the country's leading experts in this field.
This year's symposium was attended by Fletcher Challenge chairman Ralph Waters, and Act Party leader Rodney Hide.
Labour Party MP Grant Robertson attended as did former Labour Party cabinet minister David Caygill.
The role of the media in shaping public policy was the topic of one panel discussion with the media represented by The Nation host Sean Plunket and columnist Deborah Hill Cone.
Dr Deane also spoke about opportunities in the tourism, education and dairy industries.
In summary, he said New Zealand had grown faster in the post-economic reform period and the gains were then eroded.
New Zealand needed lower taxes, less government and less regulation.
The Government needed to privatise state-owned enterprises and it should not pick winners.