David Parker burnished his credentials with Australian investors when he told them he was the a2 Milk Company's number two employee.
Just a week before Parker's address to an ASX audience, a headline in the Australian Financial Review blared "A2 Milk's surge helps ASX higher".
A2's interim net profit had more than doubled to $98.5 million. It was the standout result that day, the shares climbing 29.7 per cent to A$11.30 over the session.
So when Parker turned up at the ASX in downtown Sydney to talk to Australian investors interested in NZ stocks, he couldn't have had better cut-through.
The Cabinet Minister talked about how he was interested in the journey of the companies as they sought capital for themselves, and liquidity and price maximisation for their shareholders. His background included a long time as an experienced CEO and a company director across a range of industries before going into politics, and in a number of start-up businesses in New Zealand agritech and biotech.
"As CEO I took one of them to the main board of the the stock exchange. I was one of the founders — and did due diligence — and was one of the first two employees of a2."
This record is probably news to NewstalkZB host Mike Hosking, who piled into the Ardern Cabinet this week, saying he couldn't think of any of them who had ever actually done anything in the private sector — "owned a business, employed people? You know, dealt with the real world?"
Hosking was wrong on the facts.
But he has a point, given the apparent triumph of ideology over commercial reality which has been laid bare at the finance and expenditure committee as it hears submissions on the Government's ban on foreign property buyers.
Sir Eion Edgar was not alone when he said that the foreign buyer ban would "be detrimental to New Zealand's international reputation and greatly restrict overseas parties contributing to the benefit of New Zealand".
It is not just the substance of the bill, which is geared to preserving the acquisition of residential homes for New Zealanders.
But it's the unintended consequences, which have resulted in a number of companies — ranging from Spark to the retirement village operators — having to trek to Wellington to make it clear how their own investment intentions are affected by the legislation.
Parker is in a conundrum. He is entrepreneurially minded. But he is also imbued with a strong sense of social justice.
He is dogged and determined, and not easily shifted from a position.
Intriguingly, in Sydney he presented a businesslike persona as he opened the "investors' day" for New Zealand companies.
In the past five years, the number of New Zealand companies listed on the ASX has grown from 16 to 57.
Xero's high-profile decision to shift its listing to the ASX created a good deal of controversy late last year. But ASX metrics suggest this trend is now bedded in and it will take some skilful strategising from the NZX to bolster its own operations.
The NZ companies range across sectors from technology, to telecoms, healthcare, consumer goods, utilities and materials, and were seen as adding to the breadth of stocks listed on the Australian exchange.
There was keen interest from Australian investors, who asked well-informed questions of CEOs and other leaders of the seven Kiwi companies who presented that day.
ASX executives talked about how the number of NZ companies in the ASX200 had grown from two to seven (with Xero's promotion to the ASX200 this week, that total is now eight). The market capitalisation of Kiwi companies had grown from A$27 billion to A$90b — a growth in market cap of over 230 per cent.
The investor optimism over transtasman investment options is well founded, given that the ASX listed NZ cohort out-performed the broader market last year, with an average price performance of 15 per cent versus 7 per cent for the ASX200.
Parker was not fazed by any of this, nor the impact on the NZX's own future as more NZ companies switch to the ASX for their primary listing.
To him, it was a rational step for New Zealand companies to seek an ASX listing, not just to raise capital, but also to gain knowledge from the specialist skills among the wider range of investors and analysts in Australia. He professed to be very grateful for ASX support for transtasman business.
The surge in transtasman listings dates back to a mutual recognition agreement between Australia and New Zealand to facilitate security offerings. The agreement is one of the concrete takeouts from the single economic market process between the two countries.
Cross-border investment was given a further boost in 2015, when the ASX introduced the foreign exempt listing which significantly reduced compliance costs.
Parker also praised the very, very successful economic interdependence between the two countries.
"Some 50 per cent of NZ's foreign direct investment comes from Australia," he said. "It works well for us and also works very well for the companies that invest in NZ and their shareholders."
So if FDI is so good, why create a bureaucratic nightmare that is just going to tie the Overseas Investment Office in a tangle?
Parker is adamant that his objective is to ensure that the New Zealand housing market is shaped by New Zealanders.
But for the economy to flourish, the Government needs to be seen to welcome foreign investment.