Business has had almost enough of "9th floor" reign and wants a full seat at the table as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact their firms.
Despite their admiration for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's outstanding leadership during the white heat of the Covid-19 crisis earlier this year, there is a sense that the private sector's own ideas are not filtering through sufficiently to either Ardern or Finance Minister Grant Robertson. Nor are they being acted upon.
Mainfreight chief executive Don Braid says it's time for the Prime Minister to embrace the business community rather than relying on the bureaucrats for advice and execution.
"There are many willing to devote time, energy and ideas in areas that allow New Zealand to find the right environment to operate in a post-lockdown economy.
"The Prime Minister's personal performance has been impacted by the lack of support in implementation during the Covid crisis.
"The fiefdoms of bureaucracy are alive and well with the weight of them weighing heavy on the nation."
A leading company chair agrees. "The PM has the opportunity to access the best brains in the country".
"She has paid scant attention to their inputs, as evidenced by the recent treatment of her business adviser Rob Fyfe and the disillusionment of her Prime Minister's Business Advisory Council."
The Herald's Mood of the Boardroom 2020 Election survey — taken in association with BusinessNZ — provides an in-depth barometer of CEO opinion at what is the most concerning time in the survey's history.
Some 165 respondents took part in this year's survey, comprising 150 chief executives and a group of high-profile directors from across the spectrum.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on business confidence.
In this year's Mood of the Boardroom Optimism Index, business confidence is at its lowest level in nearly two decades and well down on that following the 2008 Global Financial crisis.
The wipeout of major export earners like tourism and export education has had an effect.
But NZ's leading chief executives have come up with plenty of ideas for industries to take their place.
On the latest opinion polls, Ardern looks certain to lead Labour back into power, possibly unhobbled by the need for a formal coalition partner.
With less than three weeks to go before the October 17 election, National Leader Judith Collins has to garner voter support for her party's tax cuts stimulus package and raft of business-friendly policies.
Collins has overcome snafus — like Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith's error over the fiscal impact of National's tax cuts package — and soldiered through.
But Labour Finance Minister Grant Robertson has increased his cachet with business.
Robertson was the highest-rated Cabinet Minister in this year's survey. He is seen as "capable, calm and credible" by CEOs.
Deloitte chief executive Thomas Pippos says though Labour's proposal to increase the highest personal tax rate doesn't impact on the majority, National has upped the ante by helicoptering in temporary tax relief across the board to stimulate economic growth.
"Tax therefore promises to be a very complicated and emotive topic, that will either be centre-stage this election or not far from it."
CEOs are, however, looking to the bright side.
Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson says New Zealand is much better off than many other countries in the world. "It will go from strength to strength whilst we are coronavirus-free."