APEC moving to a virtual forum will be a significant loss to New Zealand’s economy but it is still an opportunity to focus on strengthening relationships and forging new ones, National’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Gerry Brownlee says.
“As a small island nation New Zealand relies heavily on the partnerships we create with other countries. We are facing tough economic times, our economy is taking a hit and we have seen a significant number of job losses. Making sure these relationships, in particular our trading ones, stay strong is important to our economic growth.
“APEC 2021 was an incredible opportunity for New Zealand. It was set to be the largest event ever hosted by New Zealand and would create significant opportunities to promote our economic interests.
“Up to 22,000 international attendees were expected to arrive throughout the year, with around 10,000 attendees expect for Leader’s Week.
“While this is clearly, in the current environment, not an option, we should remain optimistic that international progress on defeating Covid-19 may present an opportunity for a smaller Leader’s meeting in person in Auckland.
“We need to rethink how we conduct diplomacy in this new world, particularly around how New Zealand advances and enhances our need to trade successfully in an increasingly closing world.”