Exceltium is New Zealand's most successful corporate and public affairs consultancy.
With extensive networks into Wellington's political establishment and Auckland's commercial heart, Exceltium is uniquely placed to offer the full range of services to clients facing challenges or opportunities in both the commercial and political domains.
Exceltium's expertise in corporate and public affairs and communications is supported by strong commercial and legal acumen, built up through the experience and backgrounds of our team across a wide range of economic and political sectors. Our experience extends well beyond the New Zealand market, with our team having worked in-market on projects in Australia, Southern Europe, East Asia and South America.
Founded in 2005, the company provides government relations, public relations, iwi relations and communications advice and assistance to a number of prominent New Zealand and international companies. In addition, Exceltium assists a range of current and prospective local and international investors with their New Zealand interests.
Led by Managing Director Matthew Hooton, Exceltium uses its combination of intellect, experience and networks to design strategy-led communications programmes that shift opinions and policies to support the business plans of our clients.
What we do
Exceltium's speciality is engaging with the political process, at central and local government level and right across the political spectrum, to assist clients in achieving their commercial objectives.
This includes strategy development; project design and management; corporate reputation management; policy development; establishing formal relationship agreements; drafting legislation; government, stakeholder and media relations; market research and political polling; and the generation of all communications materials.
Exceltium works with businesses to establish and maintain their corporate reputations while continually researching the shifting political nuances that have potential impacts for our clients.
We distinguish ourselves from our competitors through our
- ability to offer a genuine mix of Wellington political and Auckland corporate knowledge and skills
- focus on delivering real commercial value to clients
- broad-ranging expertise across many sectors and disciplines
- ethos of accuracy and intellectual rigour
- preparedness to challenge the status quo in order to find the best solution for clients
- ability to help clarify and synthesise our clients' strategic commercial goals
Exceltium has established a blue-chip client portfolio and a record of success that is without equal in the New Zealand corporate and public affairs environment.
The Exceltium Team
Exceltium takes pride in the depth and breadth of experience and expertise of all its staff. The Exceltium senior team includes:
Matthew Hooton Managing Director
Matthew Hooton has over 25 years' experience in corporate and public-sector communications, including for the New Zealand Government and the country's most influential companies.
He began his career as a press secretary to the New Zealand trade, agriculture and deputy finance minister before consulting to PricewaterhouseCoopers business continuity team working on Y2K related projects, including the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, ANZ, Westpac, National Australia Bank and the New Zealand Treasury.
At 28, he played a lead role in the government relations and communications programmes that led to the creation of Fonterra, becoming the company's first head of communications, managing the announcements of all senior executives, the first election to the Board of Directors and announcements of new ventures with partners in Europe, North and South America and India.
Matthew has also led a wide range of government relations programmes including ones where government/industry partnerships were sought, such as with ZESPRI International, or where legislative change was sought as with the Kyoto Forestry Association.
Matthew is well known in political circles and by the public for his role as a political commentator on Radio New Zealand and as a columnist for the National Business Review and Metro magazine. He maintains strong relations with senior figures across the political spectrum. He has a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics from the University of Auckland.
Ben Thomas Senior Consultant
Ben Thomas joined Exceltium after six years in government as the press secretary to the Attorney-General and Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Hon. Christopher Finlayson QC.
He was responsible for government communications strategy for complex and potentially contentious regulatory issues including the repeal and replacement of the Foreshore and Seabed Act, and significant Treaty settlements including the return of Te Urewera National Park to the Ngāi Tuhoe tribe. He has extensive contacts within government and across Parliament, as well as excellent working relationships with political, business and Maori media across the country including the Parliamentary press gallery.
Ben led communications and media relations for the Quintet of Attorneys-General meeting in Auckland in 2013, a conference of the Attorneys-General of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. He was also responsible for government communications for New Zealand's year as the Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair, one of the world's largest cultural trade events,
A former political editor of the National Business Review, where he also reported on finance and business issues, he appears regularly as a political commentator on television and radio.
Ben was involved in the launch of the new brand identity for law firm Meredith Connell and manages the firm's ongoing communications and external relations.
He has a Master of Laws in Corporate and Commercial Law from the University of Auckland, with a focus on corporate governance and regulation, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies.
Exceltium has provided strategic and communications advice to Meredith Connell and the Crown Solicitor Network around New Zealand. Exceltium project-managed Meredith Connell's comprehensive re-brand to re-position it as a national, full-service law firm, and also produced collateral material to support the firm's successful bid in a competitive tender for the new Auckland Crown warrant in 2015.
Exceltium undertook an external stakeholders perceptions audit for Auckland Transport researching attitudes amongst the Auckland business community towards the organisation's 30-year transport plan and assisting the Council-Controlled Organisation (CCO) in establishing relationships with local business leaders. Following the audit, Exceltium worked with Auckland Transport to engage with business and opinion leaders on their views on the plan and how the organisation's offering could be improved.
FBT Action Group
In early 2013, Exceltium led a high-profile public campaign against government plans to extend the Fringe Benefit Tax to all company carparks in Auckland and Wellington. Conducted on behalf of the FBT Action Group, the campaign involved bringing parties as diverse as the Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern) and Council of Trade Unions into a coalition of support, and pressuring government through direct lobbying, distribution of bumper stickers, a 'No Carpark Tax' Facebook page, and sustained print, radio and television media activity. The proposed tax was abandoned within a week of the campaign going public.
Maori Economic Development Panel
Exceltium was commissioned in mid 2012 by the Maori Economic Development Panel, Te Puni Kokiri and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to help refine, launch and implement He Kai Kei Aku Ringa, the Panel's Strategy to 2040. Exceltium established a coalition of more than a dozen of New Zealand's most important private sector entities – including Fonterra, Zespri and Westpac – to publicly endorse the Strategy and provide active support for its implementation.
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority
During the second half of 2012, Exceltium assisted the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority with the development of a strategy to attract local, national and international investment to the city, following the launch of the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan. Exceltium engaged with the international investment community to gauge perceptions of opportunities in Christchurch, established the Invest Christchurch investment facilitation service, and designed and implemented communications initiatives to support the strategy, including the Invest Christchurch newsletter.
Fonterra Shareholders' Council
Drawing on the extensive dairy industry experience of its own senior team, Exceltium has worked closely with the Fonterra Shareholders' Council to help it to achieve its policy objectives. In particular, these relate to possible changes to the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act, milk prices, Fonterra's Trading Among Farmers scheme, and local body representation.
Sir Michael Fay
Exceltium's work with Sir Michael Fay and his $170 million attempt to purchase the Crafar farms ahead of a rival Chinese consortium began in 2011. Having developed a media strategy, Alan McDonald acted as the Fay bid's media spokesman, while Matthew Hooton managed government and opposition relations. The Fay bid went all the way through judicial review and the high court, harnessing public sentiment and placing extreme pressure on government policy.
Medical Technology Association of New Zealand (MTANZ)
From 2010-2012, Exceltium provided government relations and communications advice to MTANZ to help address regulatory risks facing the medical devices industry. In particular, Exceltium helped to build a constituency of support among government and health sector stakeholders for the industry, and for the important contribution it makes to healthcare outcomes and economic growth in New Zealand.
In 2010, Exceltium worked with Sealord, New Zealand's largest seafood company, to develop and implement an internal communications strategy to guide the roll-out of Sealord's 'Our Story' identity project. Since then, Exceltium has provided ongoing government and media relations advice to help Sealord manage high-profile issues that shape the policy framework for the seafood industry.
Exceltium was closely involved in the entry of 2Degrees into the New Zealand mobile telecommunications market in 2009, and led the successful grassroots campaign to bring down mobile termination rates. Drop the Rate, Mate! brought together a broad coalition of support parties – including the New Zealand Union of Students Association, Federated Farmers, Unite Union and Consumer NZ – and enlisted thousands of supporters online to bring pressure to bear on policy-makers.
Exceltium has a long-standing relationship with Zespri, the world's largest kiwifruit marketer, and has provided assistance on a number of fronts to secure Zespri's interests in relation to the regulatory framework for the kiwifruit industry. This includes government relations, issues management and internal and external communications.
Rio Tinto Iron Ore
Exceltium provides Rio Tinto Iron Ore with strategic advice on engaging with the political and economic environment in New Zealand. In particular, Exceltium manages Rio Tinto's relations with iwi groups and the wider community on the West Coast of the North Island of New Zealand, co-ordinates the company's government relations initiatives, and provides ongoing political and economic intelligence.
Kyoto Forestry Association
Exceltium ran an extensive campaign on behalf of the Kyoto Forestry Association from 2005-2007, following the then-government's decision to nationalise carbon credits. The campaign used high-profile public demonstration, billboards and sustained media activity to exert pressure on government, and ultimately resulted in $1.6 billion of carbon credits being returned to forestry owners.
Exceltium is based in Auckland, New Zealand.