CEOs give the current crop of minor party leaders a clear no-confidence vote.

None of the leaders manage a pass mark in the 2014 Mood of the Boardroom survey. Even those in charge of business-friendly centre-right parties fail to get an encouraging nod.

Perhaps that's not surprising at a time when National and John Key enjoy overwhelming support.

The Green Party's Russel Norman is a nose in front of the minor party pack. He is also a shade ahead of Labour's David Cunliffe, which says much about how the Green Party has softened its approach to business.


BusinessNZ chief executive Phil O'Reilly sums up the mood of many when he comments: "Say what you like about Russel Norman; his willingness to engage with the business community is strong even if it is occasionally a difficult conversation to have."

One CEO describes the Green Party as very smart, the best Opposition party and says she would like to see the Green Party work with National. Another says the Greens "know how to make excellent use of sound bites".

A handful of CEOs commented along the lines that minor party leaders like Norman don't have responsibility and are therefore able to promise anything.

Just behind Norman are Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei and Maori Party leader Te Ururoa Flavell. Given the Maori Party's role as a partner in the National Government, CEOs expressed some respect for Flavell and his party. Vector director Alison Paterson comments: "The Maori Party has been effective for its people and a reliable coalition partner."

CEOs rank Winston Peters and Peter Dunne as the next most impressive minor party leaders. One comments that Peters' rating depends on his role as a kingmaker. Without it, he is insignificant. Another describes Peters as the "consummate politician"; "Unfortunately the last of a dying breed among a Parliament of career wannabes". Another says Peters "has been consistent over the years, at least we know what we're getting even if he won't tell us".

Potential National Party partners Jamie Whyte of Act and Colin Craig of the Conservatives fail to impress CEOs, the pair rank only fractionally ahead of the more radical Laila Harre and Hone Harawira from internet-Mana. One CEO comments that: "National's natural coalition partners are all non-events."

There are widely differing views on the Act leader. One CEO asks "Jamie who?" while another says "I strongly favour most of what Jamie Whyte is advocating: a radically lower corporate tax rate; a radical RMA overhaul; the removal of Maori electorates." Craig has at least one advocate who says: "He has a reasonable grasp on some of the issues and articulates well but he does not have a feel for, or receives poor advice on, how best to portray himself."

An overwhelming majority of CEOs rate Harre and Harawira as not impressive. One said there was no substance to Harawira and that he and Harre were "dangerous radicals".