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Nicole Metzger | Chair February Pānui 2020

News 25 Feb 2020

2020: From Surviving to Thriving

Welcome to our first pānui for 2020. As February almost comes to a close, there have already been several developments and challenges in the new year that have brought our world to a standstill, such as the Australian bushfires and the CONVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

The 2020 Forum Trade Ministers Meeting (FTMM) held in Suva, Fiji on February 11 - 13, 2020 under the theme 'Pacific Trading Nations: From Surviving to Thriving' was a reminder of issues that our Pacific economies face with the rise of geopolitical tensions, protectionism dampening the global trade flows and of course the threat of climate change.

However, from a private sector viewpoint, we must be present alongside governments as we play a strategic role in formulating a regional response to the aforementioned challenges.

For most Pacific countries, climate change is the challenge of survival. Already prone to natural disasters, a proactive to adaptation is essential. Pacific Island economies will benefit from infrastructure upgrades and development. Strengthening infrastructure has social and economic benefits for communities and is essential for building resilience of our societies.

Of course, the adaptation is not limited to infrastructure, ensuring that climate resilient crops are available to both the commercial grower and the small holder farmer is imperative. In New Zealand we are also seeing the impact climate change is having on our crops and seasons so future-proofing food security should be a priority for all of us.

Also highlighted in FTMM was the opportunities available through the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme. PCF initiated this concept as a result of thought-leadership and collaboration with relevant stakeholders in 2007.

Labour mobility in the Pacific region is seen as a means to relieving social and demographic pressures resulting from saturated labour markets, where shortages relate to skills. Positive labour migration contributes to skills, encourages entrepreneurial activities and increases investment and remittances. The reality is that New Zealand primary industries would struggle to function without these valuable members of their team.

Expanding labour mobility is vital for the future of our Pacific region. The economies of Pacific island countries have not been able to provide sufficient employment opportunities. Where these countries are unable to bring the jobs to the people, the alternative is to bring the people to where the jobs are, therefore, it is encouraging to see countries such as New Zealand and Australia continue to commit to this initiative.

In the coming months, PCF will also continue to commit to stimulating and supporting the economic prospects of the region. It is pleasing to see that the work that was delivered under the our four strategic pillars thrive with the number of partnerships and interest that have come about such as the recent signing of the MoU with Te Ohu Whai Ao Trust.

The MoU formalises our relationship in providing leadership and direction to create economic, social and cultural partnerships between Māori and Pacific Island resource owners. Together, we are currently working with the iTaukei Trust Fund Board of Fiji and the Government of Fiji on an Indigenous business delegation to Aotearoa.

PCF Deputy Chair Andrew Wilson, PCF CEO Don Mann and Chief Operating Officer of Code Avengers, Ray Allen recently joined Hon Nanaia Mahuta (Minister for Māori Development and Associate Minister for Trade Export Growth) in hosting the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Hon James Marape and senior PNG Ministers in Auckland.

Andrew also holds the position of Chair for the New Zealand Papua New Guinea Business Council. He took the opportunity to converse with Prime Minister Marape and his Ministers on matters relating not only to PCF but also the NZPNG Business Council.

Don provided an update on our leadership programme with international scholars including our placement of four female PNG scholars into 10-week internships with NZ organisations during the summer.

Ray Allen spoke about the Code Avengers - PCF partnership to expand our Digital Capability programme across the region. Ray, who was born in PNG is also a member of the NZPNG Business Council.

To conclude, I am grateful for my fellow Board trustees and staff who ensure that the Foundation's reach and influence are consistently felt throughout the region. We hope you enjoy this issue of the newsletter and I wish you all the best as you aim to thrive in 2020.

Nicole Metzger
PCF Board Chair
February 2020.

First image: PCF Chair Nicole Metzger

Second image: L - R: PNG Vice Minister for National Planning and Member for Tawae-Siassi Hon. Dr Kobby Bomareo, PCF Chief Executive Don Mann, Code Avengers Chief Operating Officer Ray Allen, PNG PM Hon James Marape, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Board Trustee Mr. Tama Davis, NZ Minister for Māori Development Hon Nanaia Mahuta and NZ PNG Business Council Chairman and PCF Board Deputy Chair Mr. Andrew Wilson.