PM Ardern Touts NZ as ‘Safe Haven’ for In­vest­ment Af­ter Suc­cess in Curb­ing Deadly Coro­n­avirus Spread

Fiji Sun - - AUST/NZ/PACIFIC NEWS -

New Zealand’s suc­cess in curb­ing the coro­n­avirus has given it a “safe haven” ad­van­tage, al­low­ing the coun­try to be open for in­vest­ment, Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern said. With just two new in­fec­tions this week, New Zealand has held down com­mu­nity spread of the virus af­ter a strict lock­down brought so­cial and eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity to a stand­still for more than a month. Eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity is slowly re­sum­ing, though many so­cial curbs re­main, and Ms Ardern will de­cide next week on fur­ther eas­ing. “We are ready to wel­come qual­ity in­vest­ments and of­fer a safe place for op­er­a­tions in both the health and busi­ness sense,” Ms Ardern told a news con­fer­ence.

“By tack­ling the virus we have po­si­tioned our econ­omy to be able to re­build ahead of many oth­ers glob­ally...that is our safe haven strate­gic ad­van­tage.”

The com­ments came af­ter Mi­crosoft Corp an­nounced plans to set up its first dat­a­cen­tre re­gion in New Zealand.

Ms Ardern wel­comed the move, say­ing New Zealand was open to sim­i­lar strate­gic in­vest­ments, with her gov­ern­ment mak­ing more ef­forts to spread the word. “New Zealand’s brand has al­ways been that we are a sound, high­qual­ity and re­li­able place to in­vest,” she added.

“I would like to think our re­sponse to this health cri­sis only fur­ther un­der­pins that ap­proach.” Ms Ardern has re­ceived praise glob­ally for her leadership amid the pan­demic, with news re­ports and so­cial me­dia spot­light­ing peo­ple’s de­sire to move to New Zealand while the rest of the world bat­tles the virus.

But she faces the tough task of re­boot­ing the US$200 bil­lion (FJ$450.58 bil­lion) econ­omy de­pen­dent on trade and tourism, with growth ex­pected to slow sig­nif­i­cantly, cost­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of jobs.

New Zealand has al­ways drawn ul­tra-rich in­vestors keen to en­joy the Pa­cific is­land na­tion’s un­spoilt en­vi­ron­ment and scenic land­scape.

Peo­ple col­lect take­away food at a McDonald’s as New Zealand eases strict reg­u­la­tions im­ple­mented to curb the spread of the COVID-19 in Auck­land, New Zealand.

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