Putting the right people together – NZ PNG Business Council

17/03/2015

<div>Stephen Eagle is Chair of the New Zealand Papua New Guinea Business Council.  During his six-year tenure, the membership has grown by 24 per cent and outward activity from New Zealand to PNG has also increased. <!--more-->

[caption id="attachment_7003" align="alignleft" width="138"]<a href="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/rsz_eagle.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-7003" alt="Stephen Eagle." src="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/rsz_eagle.jpg" width="138" height="104" /></a> Stephen Eagle.[/caption]

Mr Eagle took the Chair after a couple of years as an Executive Board member. He brought with him extensive experience as the International Director for consulting engineering company Fraser Thomas in Auckland.

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<div>Since the council was established 22 years ago in 1993, it has strengthened its networks; increased its contacts and information resources and links in PNG. Despite long periods when membership fluctuated, the council has gradually gained the confidence of the New Zealand and PNG governments and businesses alike.</div>
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<div>Mr Eagle says there are challenges in doing business in PNG – the cost of doing business, accommodation, service, expensive flights and the tax regime.  In addition are the “perceived security threats” and threats around physical safety.  But the council works to make sure that threats are understood and thereby minimised. This is done by working with local businesses and bringing the various parties together.</div>
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<div>“I’m most proud of our ability to put people together in a way that creates opportunities,” he says.  The council has earned a reputation of engaging, caring and consultation and attention to detail.</div>
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<div>The council has made eight trade missions during his tenure and each one has resulted in significant deals he says.</div>
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<div>A prominent project involving a New Zealand firm is the Hawkins Infrastructure design and construction contract for the Kookaburra Flyover and Roading project in Port Moresby in which commenced in 2013.  It comprises a 600m long 4-lane concrete flyover, 2.5km road including roundabout, drainage, streetscape, valued at just under NZ$100 million.  Additionally, the council assisted with an engineering contract worth $2-5 million and brought together a specialist insulation supplier.</div>
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<div>The council also acts as an industry voice.   It successfully lobbied for the “Double Taxation Agreement between New Zealand and PNG meaning businesses are taxed in one country only.</div>
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<div>Another concern, currently on the backburner, is securing a single direct flight from Auckland to PNG. Although the council has reached out to NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and airline companies such as Air Niugini there the commercial viability of a single flight is for the airlines to assess and be convinced of.</div>
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<div>The council’s good relationships are underlined by the partnership with the Government’s international development agency New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (NZMFAT).</div>
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<div>Clarence Hoot, Director of PNG Investor Services and Promotions Division agreed there was a close relationship between PNG and the New Zealand PNG Business Council.</div>
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<div>The PNG IPA (Investment Promotion Agency) office has arranged business visits during the past 3-4 years. Although Australia, China and Malaysia are big players in the region, the continuing visits from the New Zealand private sector and Government, has sent signals in terms of investment.</div>
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<div>“We really value this relationship” he says.  We are able to share information directly with businesses and they meet the right people in Government and business.  Although New Zealand business visits were on a smaller scale, in the past 3-4 years, there were more than 20 delegations.</div>
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<div>Working with the Pacific Islands Trade and Invest (PT&amp;I) office was also very positive he said.  Last year, PNG Intern Ken Pep spent several weeks at the office carrying out studies on the spices and vanilla bean markets.  A cocoa deal is pending but they are working through the issue.</div>
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<div>The NZ PNG Business Council Trade Mission is planned for mid-June.  For more information please contact Eleanor Ikinofo – Pacific Islands Trade &amp; Invest Communications Community &amp; Tourism Relations Manager (Email Eleanor.i@pacifictradeinvest.com  or call +649 529 5165).</div>