Pacific Business Councils take baby steps toward collaboration


The Collaborative Business After-5 held Thursday night at the Emirates Team New Zealand Base in Auckland brought together four separate Pacific Business Councils for the first time in the history of the councils.<!--more-->

[caption id="attachment_3808" align="aligncenter" width="138" caption="Pacific Business Council Chairs meet for a photo at the Collaborative After 5"]<a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-3808" title="BusinessCouncils" src="" alt="" width="138" height="104" /></a>[/caption]

It was not quite an alignment of the starts, but such an event has not happened before given the previous players and interests of all the councils. The NZ Pacific Business Council joined with the French New Zealand Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the New Zealand Tonga Business Council, New Zealand Papua New Guinea Business Council, New Zealand Samoa Trade &amp; Investment Commission and the New Zealand Fiji Business Councils and supported by the Pacific Co-operation Foundation.

New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Hon. Murray McCully was the first guest speaker and covered a range of areas the Government was focusing on in moving Pacific countries towards greater self-sufficiency. Funding under the New Partnerships Funding Scheme was a major focus area along with fisheries, Agriculture and Horticulture, Tourism. Mr McCully said that the aim was to generate more opportunities for self-sufficiency to ensure islands remained viable and were able to stand on their feet.

Captain John Hogan, Director of Economic Development, Secretariat for the Pacific Community gave a comprehensive overview of SPC’s projects being undertaken in the Pacific. He pointed out there was a lack of shipping management in the Pacific and more training was needed in the areas of shipping operations and cargo handling. He also underlined issues such as the high cost and variances in Port tariffs between various Pacific islands.

The NZ Pacific Business Council was formed in early 2005. The NZ French Business Council, NZ Fiji and PNG Business Councils were established in 1985, 1987 and 1993 respectively and are the most well established business councils. However to date the various business councils have all operated separately promoting their country’s aims and interests. Getting together to host this event with established councils is perhaps the start of a new chapter for all, finally realising the hopes of ex-Labour MP Winnie Laban who back in 2005 at the launch of the first Pacific Expo asked people to work together in a win-win situation supporting ‘our brothers and sisters.’ Winnie Laban was the founding patron and played a big part in setting up the NZ Pacific Business Council.


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