Economic Development industry advisory group

This group is dedicated to addressing how we can enhance regional, national, and economic growth: identifying opportunities for the industry’s economic expansion and ideas around how we get there, promoting hospitality entrepreneurship, fostering innovation, and telling people about the industry’s successes. The group will provide insights on how to stimulate our industry’s economic prosperity and promote resilience in times of economic challenges.  Also the economic development group will consider other policy including manager’s licensing

Meet the Members

<strong>David Allott</strong>

David Allott 

David is a veteran of the hospitality and tourism industry with experience across multiple sectors including sport, tourism, hotels, major events, restaurants, and conventions. He is the GM, Hospitality at SkyCity Auckland with responsibility for over 20 award winning restaurants and bars, 3 world class hotels and New Zealands’ No1 tourist attraction, the iconic SkyTower.  With over 35 years’ experience, he started his career in UK hotels followed by roles with Sodexho before moving to NZ in 2006. Initially responsible for the SkyCity Convention Centre, he then moved to Stadia and Venues with responsibilities across multiple NZ Stadiums, Venues and Major Events including RWC 2011, CWC 2015, British & Irish Lions 2017 and major concerts. Following a role in Australia with state responsibility for venues across NSW and QLD he returned to SkyCity in 2018. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Australian Institute of Business and degree in Tourism & Hospitality from Napier University in Edinburgh. 

<strong>Jared Johnstone</strong>

Jared Johnstone 

Jared Johnstone is the Kaihautū | Managing Director at Oneroa Limited (Tahu, The Kiosk). Jared has more than 30 years experience in the hospitality industry, along with significant prior experience in Regional Economic Development, Tourism, FMCG and Information Technology. Jared has operated nationally and abroad, most notably Denim Bar (Parnell), Morrisson (Fort Street), Chaise Lounge (Melbourne), and Nomad (Point Chevalier). 

  Specialising in market formation and development, sector enhancement, professional development and visitor experience, Jared believes in delivering a total sensory experience which alters the customers value perception via proposition. He believes in celebrating manuhiri | visitors, investing in kaimahi | staff, and valuing and recognising the unique skill sets and traits of all team members. Jared was the recipient of multiple awards in the Australian Bartender Awards 2002 and a finalist in the inaugural Lewisham Awards (2003) in the category ‘Outstanding Cocktail Bartender’.   

  Despite exiting the hospitality sector on numerous occasions, Jared always returns, accepting it is his way to deliver positive impact, particularly in a social context. “As humans we are a social species. We thrive when we connect. There is something quite special about delivering unique experiences for our manuhiri. When you get it just right, you see the effect you have had. You’ve made their life just a little bit better, even if for a moment.” Jared sees the opportunity we have as a nation is to indigenise the manaaki | hospitality space. “Delivering manaakitanga bestows mana upon the individual. We already know manaakitanga as a nation – we just don’t value it appropriately. We need to realise our abundance – that is our opportunity.”   

Jared’s iwi affiliations include Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri. 

<strong>Steve Logan</strong>

Steve Logan 

Steve has 45 years’ experience in the hospitality industry in NZ and abroad. He is passionate about New Zealand, its food chain, hospitality, tourism and the amazing Kiwis who have potential to make us number one in the world. His well known restaurant, Logan Brown, is considered one of New Zealand’s finest, and Steve is considered one of the most influential restaurateurs in the Kiwi culinary landscape. Steve also owns Liberty Restaurant and consults to Bellamys by Logan Brown at the Beehive. He works directly with education institutions and believes direction, mentoring, training and quality experiences for employees are more important than ever. Steve is the current National Vice president for the Restaurant Association and sits on the advisory board of Eat NZ. 

<strong>Katherine Dippie</strong>

Katherine Dippie

Katherine Dippie is a Director at Fife Lane Kitchen & Bar, with 14 years’ experience as a Hospitality Business owner, and recently developer of MunaHR – SaaS product designed specifically for HR in Hospitality.  

Katherine specializes in Business Management and systems, with a focus on HR & Accounting management. Fife Lane was recognised this year on the world stage being named the “83rd Best Steak Restaurant”. 

<strong>Sarah Kelly</strong>

Sarah Kelly

Sarah Kelly is a Director at Market Hospitality Group Ltd which includes Market ST (Bar and Restaurant) and soon to open Madame Social (Eatery and Bar). With 7 years experience alongside her husband Steve Kelly’s 33 years experience in the hospitality industry they make a great team creating the best of the best in hospitality venues. Sarah’s previous experience includes owning her own Wedding Planning and Marriage Celebrant business The Weddingtoolbox, working as the Events Manager for Massey University and working in the recruitment industry. This has given her a wide range of expertise in event management and HR to bring into the hospitality industry. As an owner Sarah’s role is extremely varied specializing in the overall design of the business, administration and accounts, HR, marketing and her favourite role looking after guests as they arrive in the door. There’s never a dull day! Market ST has recently won the Napier CBD Supreme Business Award, was in the top 5 finalists for Best Bar in NZ at the Hospitality Awards for Excellence (2022 & 2023) and recently won Most Unique Bar in the World at the Luxlife Awards. Sarah loves the variety and fast paced nature of hospitality and creating beautiful connections with her guests as that is what hospitality is all about.

<strong>Helen Kono</strong>

Helen Kono

Helen Kono is a Director/Owner at Yoshi Sushi & Bento, which she opened with her husband in 2010 and currently has 2 stores in Wellington’s CBD.  

As a Director, she covers many roles including front of house, management, HR, social media and accounting. Yoshi Sushi & Bento regularly takes part in Wellington On A Plate Burger Wellington.  

What Helen most enjoys about the hospitality industry is seeing customers enjoy the food and experience that they have created and showcasing a wide variety of Japanese food.  

<strong>AJ Jagdale</strong> 

AJ Jagdale

Ajinkya Jagdale, usually known as AJ is a hospitality jack of all trades at The Hour Glass and Shining Peak Brewing with nineteen years of experience. AJ has worked at several New Plymouth establishments since moving from India to New Plymouth in 2005. AJ and his business partner/s opened The Hour Glass in 2013, Polpetta in 2015, Peeking Panda in 2017 and Shining Peak Brewing in 2019. Hospitality comes naturally to AJ and is something he is passionate about. Being able to provide an experience that people remember and an environment they want to come back to is what it is all about. 

<strong>Paul Steiner</strong>

Paul Steiner

With over 25 years experience in the hospitality industry, Paul has been a franchisee in both McDonald’s and more recently for the past five years at Lone Star.

While retaining ownership of his Lone Star in Dunedin, two and half years ago Paul has also took on the National Operations Management role for Lone Star NZ based out of Head Office in Christchurch.

<strong>Jon Hassall</strong>

Jon Hassall 

Jon Hassall is Chief Operating Officer at Café Brands Limited. Their portfolio includes Columbus Coffee (75 franchised café locations nationwide) and Mexico, 11 restaurants across the country. It also has an Auckland based roastery and a small selection of unbranded cafes.  Jon has extensive experience in the hospitality industry having held a number of senior, national and international positions in England, across Europe and now in Australasia for some of the most well known global hospitality brands and organisations.

<strong>Max Wa</strong>sher

Max Washer

Max Washer is the third-generation owner of The White Lady, an institution that has been part of Auckland’s vibrant food scene since 1948. Over the years, this family-run business has stood the test of time, offering world-famous burgers to the late-night crowd from their location in downtown Auckland. The legacy started by Max’s grandfather, Bryan Washer, continues to thrive, with Max expanding the business to include two additional mobile food trailers for large events.

For Max, The White Lady is more than just a family business; it’s a way of life. From a young age, Max has been intimately involved in the business, an experience he now cherishes. Despite exploring other career paths, the pull of the family business proved irresistible, and Max returned to take the reins of this iconic burger joint.

Max believes in preserving the original recipes that made The White Lady a beloved fixture of Auckland’s food scene. Even as the business evolves and expands, the commitment to offering a ‘wholesome meal in a bag’ with their uncomplicated, well-balanced burgers remains steadfast. This respect for tradition combined with a willingness to innovate has seen The White Lady grow, with the recent opening of a brick-and-mortar store and plans for further expansion.

Max’s dream is to keep The White Lady a family-run entity that caters to the diverse community it serves, while also nurturing the next generation of the Washer family within the business. To him, The White Lady represents the family legacy, community connection, and the joy of serving delicious, honest food.


We want to keep a finger on the pulse of the issues that our industry are facing and welcome any feedback from our members. Please fill in the below form if you’d like to send us confidential feedback.