Simon Watts is a father, a chartered accountant with extensive international banking and finance experience, a volunteer ambulance officer, and a proud New Zealander.
Simon was born in Cambridge, just outside Hamilton, where his parents were farmers. He is the eldest of three boys and had a typical rural upbringing. Simon gained a Bachelor of Management Studies majoring in Accounting and Finance from the University of Waikato.
Upon graduating, Simon began his career with Deloitte in Corporate Tax. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant before moving onto banking and finance roles in Canada, Ireland and the UK. His time in London was with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), coinciding with the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.
While Simon was overseas, London experienced the 7/7 Terror Bombings. He saw how first responders made a difference to save lives and resolved to upskill himself so he would also be able to help should the situation demand it.
Returning to New Zealand in 2013, Watts qualified with a Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedicine) at the Auckland University of Technology and registered as a paramedic. Watts was doing what he loved, but he knew that he had real value to contribute in the leadership arena, so he took up the role of Deputy Chief Financial Officer at Waitematā DHB.
After three years, Watts had worked at the coal face of public health, but the major problems he was trying to remedy originated in government policy. As an ambulance officer and financial director, he realised that poverty and health outcomes were inseparable. The pathway lay with the politicians who decide policy. Whether a household suffered because there was a lack of money or a lack of support, guidance and education came down to a range of different departments coming together.
Outside his corporate career, Simon has also served on the Diabetes New Zealand Trustee Board.
Simon is married to Shannon, and together, they live on the North Shore with their two children.
Watch Simon's Newshub Nation backstory here:
Watch Simon's maiden speech here:
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