News Item

​APEC to the fore for New High Commissioner

News 8 Jun 2018

As the recently appointed New Zealand High Commissioner for Papua New Guinea, Sue Mackwell finds herself gearing up for PNG hosting the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference) for the very first time in November.

“It’s a tremendous undertaking for what is our largest Pacific neighbour,” she says.

“But I can say that the capital Port Moresby seems to be transforming by the minute in preparation for this event.”

While the industrial sectors, which include mining and petroleum, provide almost half (44%) of the nation’s GDP, the High Commissioner says there is greater emphasis on diversifying the nation’s economy through the likes of farming, with tourism also on the rise.

New Zealand’s relationship with Papua New Guinea is also strengthening, which Sue tributes to the contribution of the New Zealand Papua New Guinea Business Council (NZPNGBC), established in 1993 and based in Auckland.

In late February, more than 270,000 people in Papua New Guinea were affected by the 7.5 magnitude earthquake which affected more than half a million people across five provinces. Although Sue hadn’t started her new role, she says the assistance by the New Zealand Government was greatly appreciated.

Sue began her position in April, succeeding Tony Fautua. Having also represented New Zealand in its diplomatic missions in Paris and Kuala Lumpur, Sue also brings a wealth of public service knowledge and experience to the role. She was the National Children's Director for Children's Action Plan (Wellington) and the Deputy Chief Executive, Social Service Policy and Social Sector Strategy in New Zealand's Ministry of Social Development. Before this, Sue served as a Cabinet Office Senior Adviser.

She holds a Master of Arts in Political Behaviour (University of Essex) and a Master of Arts (Hons) from the University of Canterbury.