Air New Zealand boss Christopher Luxon wants politicians to work with business and set big ambitions and aspirations for New Zealand.

In an interview with Fran O'Sullivan for the Herald's Mood of the Boardroom video series, Luxon said it could not be left to one of the actors in the economy.

Luxon identified as a major priority for New Zealand to be more strategic when it came to tackling major challenges such as investing in infrastructure.

He singled out Singapore as one nation that was investing ahead of the curve and ahead of growth.

Advertisement

"They're reclaiming land and building tube stations, as I understand it, up to five, seven years before they actually need them.

"We need big investments in certainly big parts of our infrastructure."

Investment in infrastructure would support greater productivity.

"If I take my own sector of tourism, we're really proud of the progress we've made in terms of tourism, and it's been tremendous.

"But the reality is that we are about mid-table in terms of the productivity that we get out of tourism. And if we could get ourselves to the top 10 per cent there's another $9 billion to add into the tourism sector.

"And I'm sure it's the same in primary industry, and I'm sure it's the same in dairy and other parts of the economy as well."

The Air New Zealand chief executive said immigration was a positive but it had to be the right kind of immigration with the right skills, "coupled with the way that we develop our own people locally".

Luxon floated the prospect of New Zealand partnering with Chinese companies to build critical infrastructure such as housing.

"We might be able to open up classes of immigration and a pathway to citizenship for workers to help us build the critical infrastructure that we need so fast."

In terms of infrastructure, New Zealand was a country built for three million people and a million visitors: "Today we're almost five million and four million visitors, and part of the maturing of our country is really the fact that we have to make investments ahead of it.

"That's no different from what we do in business."