New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called for political and business leaders to work together to build a strong, equitable and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Delivering the keynote address to a global business audience at the 2021 APEC CEO Summit, the largest business conference in the Asia-Pacific region that runs adjacent to APEC Economic Leaders’ Week, Prime Minister Ardern acknowledged the scale of the pandemic’s impacts and the varied challenges economies have faced.
“But there is now little doubt that staying on top of the virus provides options when it comes to responding to the economic challenges before us,” Prime Minister Ardern said.
“As we prepare for the post-pandemic era, we need to continue to strengthen the partnership between government and business,” she said. “Together, we need to set the stage for an equitable, inclusive and sustainable recovery that invests in people and planet through fresh ideas and renewed resolve.”
There were three areas where political and business leaders could work together to achieve an economic recovery to weather future economic shocks.
“We must unlock efficiency and productivity gains that digital innovation offers. After years of talking about the digital transformation, COVID-19 has accelerated progress by years,” stated Prime Minister Ardern.
“Workplaces and businesses must be inclusive of everyone across our communities, particularly women and indigenous peoples,” she added.
“These groups have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic’s effects but they are an engaged and productive labor force that have much to contribute. In New Zealand alone, the Māori economy is now worth NZD70 billion.”
Environmental sustainability was the third area for increased political and business cooperation, the Prime Minister said.
“I’m proud of the progress APEC has made this year, including in beginning to turn the tide on the adoption of fossil fuel subsidies which have created devastating environmental degradation by masking the true cost of fossil fuels and inhibiting the transition to adoption of renewable alternatives.”
Prime Minister Ardern acknowledged that addressing such systemic issues would demand a new model of political and business cooperation.
“We have been dealt an opportunity to strike an economic reset on a scale we haven’t seen since World War II. Implementing this level of change during such challenging times will require real courage from all of us, political leaders and business leaders alike,” Prime Minister Ardern said. “APEC Leaders stands with the business community to ensure we all pull through the pandemic stronger than we were before.”
For further details, please contact:
Cas Carter +64 21 341 509 at [email protected] (in New Zealand)
Sidah Russell +64 21 359 235 at [email protected] (in New Zealand)
Masyitha Baziad +65 9751 2146 at [email protected]
Michael Chapnick +65 9647 4847 at [email protected]