News 31 May 2018
The New Zealand Papua New Guinea Business Council celebrated 25 years of promoting economic and trade relations between New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
The Council’s former and current Chairs, as well as other supporting members, attended its gala dinner on Thursday May 24 to formally mark its anniversary. The event was an opportunity to acknowledge the Council’s long-standing connection between the two countries.
In his opening remarks, Foundation Member Peter Kiely (ONZM) recalls the political atmosphere in the Pacific region in 1993 – when the Council was just in its infancy.
“The genesis of the NZ PNG Business Council was a year or two prior to 1993, when then High Commissioner John Hayes, in conjunction with Jeremy Spaniard from NZTE, had observed the success of the New Zealand Fiji Business Council established a few years earlier after the military coups,” he recalls.
“John Hayes was a driving force of the establishment of the NZ PNG Business Council. He was a key problem solver during the Bougainville conflict in the 1990s and set up peace talks with leaders of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army.”
Members of the Council have been influential in promoting the private business sector, and have been actively involved in disaster relief efforts.
In February a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck Papua New Guinea’s Hela Province, affecting its 600,000 people, prompting the Council to take action. It held a fundraising lunch and raised over $6000 which went towards emergency supplies such as food and clean drinking water.
Their efforts and resilience have only strengthened Papua New Guinea’s reputation in New Zealand, as noted by Mr. Kiely.
“PNG is New Zealand’s second largest goods export market in the Pacific after Fiji,” he says.
“Services in particular are growing and our private sector is engaged across a wide range of industries, including communications, construction, aviation, engineering, energy and education.”
PNG has a rapidly growing economy and is seen as a bridge between the Pacific and Asia.
Growth has been driven in recent years by natural gas and mining, providing new opportunities for local business and foreign companies. New Zealand is well known and highly regarded in PNG, which is reflected in the increasing number of Kiwi companies entering the PNG market.
The NZ PNG Business Council has contributed to this growth by increasing awareness of the business environment and market opportunities in the Pacific Island nation. The current Chair of the Council is Hon Murray McCully CNZM.