by | Feb 8, 2023 | Featured Articles, Media Releases


Media Release – 8 February 2023

Equity, sustainability and opportunity are key themes of one of the largest gatherings of senior Asia-Pacific business leaders held in New Zealand for some time.

The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) is due to meet in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland . Aotearoa/New Zealand from 12 to 14 February. The New Zealand International Business Forum (NZIBF) and the Auckland Business Chamber are the host organisations.

The meeting is a great opportunity to build upon New Zealand’s successful 2021 APEC host year. APEC is chaired by the United States in 2023.

“This first ABAC meeting for 2023 allows the region’s business community to reconnect in person to discuss the complex and interconnected challenges we face,” said Stephen Jacobi, NZIBF Executive Director and ABAC Alternate Member.

 “ABAC will be grappling with issues that range from economic integration, and digital innovation to sustainability and will also hold a dialogue with APEC senior officials”.

Mr Jacobi said the three-day programme would provide an important opportunity to show the innovation and versatility of New Zealand businesses to an influential audience. The ABAC meeting had captured the imagination of New Zealand business sponsors including Fonterra, Xero, HSBC NZ and Silver Fern Farms.

As host of the welcome reception on 12 February, Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell said “Fonterra is delighted to have the opportunity to welcome key partners from around the region and to show-case some of our innovative dairy products. We recognise that ABAC is coming together to find solutions to ongoing challenges – it’s the sort of co-operative spirit we like and the world needs”.

Banking sponsor HSBC New Zealand’s Chief Executive Burcu Senel said that the event was a strong fit for the bank: “International trade is the lifeblood of the global economy, and HSBC is delighted to support ABAC’s collaborative work in advocating for open markets and well-functioning supply chains. At a time of great disruption and complex challenges, HSBC is ideally placed to open up a world of opportunity for internationally-minded companies doing business in and with New Zealand – and beyond”, Ms Senel said.

Platinum sponsor Xero will be visited by ABAC delegates on 13 February. Bridget Snelling, New Zealand Country Manager at Xero, reflected on the approach adopted by ABAC. “We like the way ABAC strives to promote inclusiveness in its work programme. It is seeking to own some pretty tough regional challenges facing small and medium-sized enterprises. We’re looking forward to welcoming the visitors to the Xero whānau when they visit us”, Ms Snelling said.

Silver Fern Farms hosts the prestigious Gala Dinner on 13 February and will be showcasing its certified Net Carbon Zero range. CEO Simon Limmer said “ABAC is taking a really progressive approach to climate change. We’re delighted to deliver authenticated and audited Net Carbon Zero beef and lamb for the dinner and share the central role of food producers in climate action”.

The meeting’s other sponsors include the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Genesis Energy, McKinsey and Company, Moana New Zealand and Tātaki Auckland Unlimited. The programme includes site visits to some of New Zealand’s most innovative international businesses including Xero, The Food Bowl, Soul Machines and Fisher and Paykel Healthcare.

Two themed lunches will also be programme highlights. The Sustainabiliy Lunch on Monday will incorporate views on sustainability from Genesis Energy and Spark. A second lunch on Tuesday will include brief presentations from leading women’s entrepreneurs.



APEC Economic Leaders have given ABAC a mandate to provide advice on the priorities and concerns of the region’s business community, appointing three senior business representatives from each APEC economy.  The Auckland ABAC meeting will involve 150 business delegates as well as senior officials from APEC economies.  New Zealand has previously hosted ABAC meetings in 2009, 2014 and 2018.  Further information about the ABAC meeting is available below.


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