News Item

PNG - Expect the unexpected

News 1 Dec 2017

Despite going through a “difficult” patch economically, Papua New Guinea has abundant opportunities for investors, according to New Zealand High Commissioner to PNG HE Sue Mackwell (pictured).

Sue began her three-year post as High Commissioner to PNG in April 2017, after serving as the National Children's Director for Children's Action Plan (Wellington).

She has also served as Deputy Chief Executive, Social Service Policy and Social Sector Strategy in NZ's Ministry of Social Development; Cabinet Office Senior Adviser; and represented NZ in its diplomatic missions in Paris and Kuala Lumpur.

The recent Returning Pacific Heads of Mission visit to NZ has proved very beneficial for Sue, she says.

“I was able to touch base with contacts in New Zealand in preparation for the Trade Mission early next year to PNG, put names to faces and meet the type of businesses who will come on the Trade Mission.”

It has been an intense seven months in the largest Pacific island, with a tumultuous General Election and the economy slowing down.

No day is the same, and Sue has learnt to expect the unexpected at her Port Moresby post.

It has changed considerably since her last visit many years ago, she says.

“It is an absolutely fascinating place, and it is so beautiful … it has taken some adapting to the customs and cultures however.”

With over 850 different languages spoken, PNG is the most linguistically diverse place on earth.

Although PNG is currently experiencing challenges economically, Sue is focused on continuing to get the message across there are plenty of great opportunities in the natural resources rich country.

“PNG has mineral resources – oil, gas, nickel and so on, and while New Zealand is not necessarily interested in these industries, there are great opportunities in servicing extracting industries for New Zealand businesses,” Sue explains.

“It is a commodity driven economy, and while we cannot say for certain, we are expecting it will be another eighteen months before things really start to pick up again.”

Meanwhile, on December 6, the New Zealand Papua New Guinea Business Council (NZPNGBC) is hosting an event in association with ANZ Bank about the PNG economy.

Mark Baker, CEO of ANZ PNG will provide an update on the Foreign Exchange Update and Economic Outlook in PNG from the perspective of ANZ, via video linkage.

This is a complimentary event, which kicks off at 5.30pm, at ANZ Centre, Level 30, 23-29 Albert Street, in Auckland.

RSVP Christine 09 302 9932 or email cconnon@chamber.co.nz.