Questions are being asked around Parliament about the surprise resignation today of Business New Zealand Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly.

Mr O’Reilly has been CEO for the past 10 years.

He himself has given no real indication as to why he resigned.

Some Parliamentary sources have suggested it was pressure from the powerful Auckland Employers and Manufacturers’ Association which has recently restructured itself to take a much more high profile stance on national policy issues.

The EMA provides approximately 50% of Business New Zealand’s funding according to one industry insider.

It has not been afraid to challenge the Government on major issues, most notably its support for a motorway charge to help fund Auckland transport improvements.

In a statement, Mr O’Reilly said that over the next few months “I will look forward to discussing future business and career options with a variety of people.”

He said he no concrete plans for what might happen next, “although I will investigate taking on a small number of directorships and engaging in consulting work in New Zealand and internationally.”

Mr O’Reilly is considered by many to be a consummate Wellington insider who mostly worked his vast array of contacts behind the scenes.

The EMA, under its Chief Executive Kim Campbell, is said to believe a more upfront style of publicly challenging the government in some circumstances might produce better results.