by | Nov 11, 2022 | Media Releases


New Zealand business will be represented at the APEC Leaders’ Week in Bangkok, commencing 13 November, by members of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).

New Zealand’s three members – Rachel Taulelei, Malcolm Johns and Anna Curzon – supported by Stephen Jacobi and Stephanie Honey, will attend meetings in Bangkok including the fourth and final meeting for ABAC, the APEC CEO Summit and ABAC’s Dialogue with APEC Economic Leaders.

“These meetings come at a critical time” said Rachel Taulelei, Founder of Oho, who chaired ABAC during New Zealand’s year in 2021.  “The business community must navigate through the myriad challenges facing the Asia Pacific region, including ongoing pandemic disruptions, geopolitical tensions, a senseless war that threatens global food and energy security, rising inflation, persistent inequality and the harsh realities of climate change”.

Earlier this month the ABAC team met with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and presented her with a copy of ABAC’s Annual Report to APEC Economic Leaders, under the theme of “Embrace, engage, enable”.  The Report will be formally presented to APEC Leaders as part of a Dialogue in Bangkok on 18 November.

While ABAC works collectively, this year under the leadership of Thai Chair Kriengkrai Thiennukul, the New Zealand members have also championed some specific priorities which are highlighted in the report.

“In particular we have made clear that turning inwards on trade is not the right strategy in a deeply interconnected world.  We need a strong and credible World Trade Organization, and deeper economic integration in the region, including through high quality pathway trade agreements like CPTPP and RCEP[1] and a future Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific”, said Rachel Taulelei.

“Climate change is no less urgent, as is vividly on display at COP27” said Malcolm Johns, CEO of Christchurch International Airport. “Last year, ABAC New Zealand led the development of a set of Climate Leadership Principles for business, modelled on the work of the Climate Leaders’ Coalition.  This year we have focused on ways to put these principles into action by sharing best practices for a just and fair transition and will be speaking further about this in Bangkok”.

Anna Curzon, Chief Product Officer, Xero, highlighted the importance of the digital economy. “We must put in place the fundamental building blocks around data flows and interoperable regulation, as well as enabling elements such as digital identities and paperless trading.  Just as importantly, ABAC New Zealand has pointed out that we need to boost the capabilities of our small businesses, women entrepreneurs and Indigenous enterprises if we are to realise the enormous potential of the digital transformation,” she added.

In Bangkok the New Zealand business delegation will join Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Trade Minister Damien O’Connor, senior officials and business leaders from around the region at the APEC CEO Summit, the first such gathering held in person since 2018.


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