We await the new Government's announcements on trade initiatives and hope that the Pacific will feature highly.
In the last few years, NZ's Pacific exports have remained stationary. There have been few initiatives to encourage a greater focus on the Pacific as other more distant and exotic destinations have won favour (remember the expensive Saudi Agri Hub) and the commitment of $50+
PEN has attempted to get more support and attention given to increasing Pacific exports but has gained little traction in the last four years.
Will the new Government be more favourably disposed to our cause?
Reading the policies announced by the major political parties prior to the General Election showed that NZ First had several initiatives that could well help Pacific exporters. This included a review of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), the Government's export development agency. Apart from a trade commissioner in PNG, NZTE has been inactive in the Pacific for too many years. Its barrier to access assistance of $5million in exports makes it inaccessible for most Pacific exporters.
So here's hoping that major changes to NZTE are on the horizon.
A significant expansion of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade was also
Who is going to become Minister of Trade will be waiting with keen anticipation. Where will Shane Jones fit? As the recent Ambassador for Pacific Economic Development and a previous speaker at some of PEN's past events, his future position in Cabinet (if it happens) will be keenly watched.
We also had the pleasure of listening to David Parker at a PEN event last July. Where will he end up?
All this is speculation, but we think these contacts and the likely changes that will be brought about by the new Government are positive for
We aim to keep a close eye on the various announcements and will seek to make representations to ensure that PEN's interests are taken into account as the new Government moves forward.