Former Beehive staffer and well-known political pundit Ben Thomas has joined PR and lobbying firm Capital as a director.
The firm, started by Neale Jones, a former chief of staff to Labour leaders Andrew Little and Jacinda Ardern, is staffed by well-known figures from the political left.
Thomas is the firm's first hire from the political right, having served in the previous National Government as a press secretary for Attorney-General Chris Finlayson.
Thomas is also the former political editor of the National Business Review.
Jones said Thomas had "extensive experience in New Zealand politics, media and public affairs".
"As press secretary in the previous National Government for Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson QC, he handled communications on some of that Government's most high-profile issues including the repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed legislation and Treaty settlements," he said.
Thomas has been working in government relations and public relations since 2014, specialising in work involving iwi and the Crown-Māori relationship, corporate governance, and the commercial sector.
He is well known for his regular appearance on The Spinoff's Gone By Lunchtime politics podcast. He also appears as a pundit on other programmes.
Thomas was formerly a colleague of Mathew Hooton, another well-known pundit and Herald columnist.
Capital had previously contracted out work with the political right. Thomas will bring at least some of that in-house.
"Ben will be covering the conservative side of politics for our clients, deepening our firm's ability to provide leading government relations advice to our clients. Ben will be based in Auckland and will help us establish a presence in New Zealand's largest city. He will also add further depth to our public relations and communications offering," Jones said.
Alongside Jones, Capital includes Hayden Munro, a former press secretary to Megan Woods and the manager of Labour's successful 2020 campaign; Mike Jaspers, former press secretary to Little and Ardern; Clint Smith, former Greens and Labour staffer and advisor to Phil Twyford; and Tory Whanau, former Greens chief of staff.
Munro also recently became a co-owner of the business, taking a 26.5 per cent stake in February.