We have been inactive in broadcasting via our website what PEN has been doing recently.
This has been caused by Covid 19 and its widespread impact on Pacific exports and as a consequence on PEN's activities.
As a volunteer network, we have had to rethink how we should function to make gains for our members and supporters.
As an interim measure we have decided to become more of a think tank. This means that the many functions we hel;d in the past will be a minor part of PEN's activity for the foreseeable future.
During 2021 we have been focused on calls on politicians and (where possible) creating dialogue with officials. This effort has not been rewarded so far but we plan to keep asking questions and making submissions when possible,
The over riding fact is that New Zealand's exports to Pacific countries remain at the same level as they were 10 years ago, and that both politicians and officials seem unconcerned.
In the Pacific we note that at last NZTE have appointed a Trade Commissioner to cover the Pacific to be located in Suva.
That is welcome news, but we wonder how effective the posting might be due to Covid 19's impact on Fiji in particular and the Pacific in general.
Now that travel to the Pacific is not possible in the immediate future also presents us with a need to think about how we might be able to promote future NZ's Pacific exports.
PEN has always considered that a network of Pacific based trade agents would be helpful. These agents don't need to be diplomats but locally based people with some business background.
They need to be backed up by an online shop, linking NZ exporters to Pacific importers.
PEN intends to promote this idea as a solution while our Pacific exporters are unable to travel to promote their exports.
We have also made an approach to the Trade Commissioner in Suva to start a process of publicising Pacific Government tenders. We see this as an opportunity to help Pacific exporters broaden their Pacific exports.
There are many other initiative being thought about.
Our problem is really to get some buy in from politicians and officials. How we solve that is our challenge.