PM update on Expo Dubai involvement, says she wants travel bubble 'soon'

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 18 Mar 2021, 4:08PM

PM update on Expo Dubai involvement, says she wants travel bubble 'soon'

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 18 Mar 2021, 4:08PM

The World Expo in Dubai will be a chance for New Zealand to reconnect with the rest of the globe in a post-Covid world, the Prime Minister says.

"We're here to really kickstart New Zealand's presence and Expo 2020," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a media briefing this afternoon.

She said the event later this year is designed to be a launching pad for countries into international markets and would showcase what is unique about New Zealand.

"This - in a post-Covid world - will be a chance for New Zealand to reconnect with the world."

She said there is expected to be a mix of online engagement for Expo 2020 and the timing of the event means New Zealand is in a better position to take part.

Trade Minister Damien O'Connor said: "We're aware of the danger of travelling internationally - but we expect by that time many [New Zealanders] would've had access to the vaccine".

On a possible trans-Tasman bubble opening up next month, Ardern said she hadn't put firm dates on it because she didn't want moving goal posts - but wanted to see it "soon".

"Our goal is once we open, to be able to do it safely."

She said she wanted to provide enough forewarning for people and businesses to prepare.

Ardern said there was a chance New Zealand could have an outbreak that could see a pause in travel and protocols needed to be in place to manage that.

The Prime Minister also fielded questions on what the Government is prepared to do in terms of funding to America's Cup holders Team New Zealand.

Team New Zealand defended the Cup yesterday and questions are already being asked over potential funding.

Ardern said the Cup had been very special for the country this year, especially after a tough year.

"We have consistently over many years seen the Government support the Cup team to stay together."

She said that support was contingent on the Cup being raced in New Zealand.

Ardern also answered questions on the 15-year-old who was recently deported from Australia to New Zealand.

She said generally New Zealand has issue with the way deportations across the board have occured - particularly those among people who have strong links to Australia.

"This case is different in that it is a very young person involved."

She said the team here and Oranga Tamariki were doing the best job they could under the circumstances.

Expo Dubai 2020 was set to be held last year but was put on hold by the Covid-19 pandemic. It will now run from October 1 to March 31, 2022.

World Expos are a way of bringing together nations and visitors from across the world to showcase new ways of connecting and thinking while celebrating creativity, innovation, humanity and world cultures.

The Government had budgeted $53 million for participating, however the year-long postponement had added extra costs.

Choreographer Parris Goebel had been tasked with curating New Zealand's entertainment and cultural programme for the showcase.

It would be based around New Zealand's theme of Care for People and Place,

and would celebrate the country's creativity, diversity and youth over the six-months of the expo.

In December New Zealand's pavilion, which accounted for most of the budget, was 95 per cent complete.

The New Zealand Pavilion was designed by Jasmax architects and is located in the Sustainability District of the Expo 2020 site.

The building was designed to increase efficiency through its construction methodology and use of sustainable materials including Abodo New Zealand eco-timber, which will be a striking aspect of the pavilion's restaurant and hosting venues.

The pavilion's fa├žade will be a highlight feature of the structure. Made from Kaynemaile, a lightweight, New Zealand-made mesh material that is 100 per cent recyclable and includes recycled materials in its composition.

The pavilion's visitor experience embodies New Zealand's culture, values and ingenuity through the theme of ''Care for People and Place''.

The pavilion is made of 201 tonnes of steel, 640 cubic metres of concrete and is on a 3616 sq m site.

New Zealand's commissioner general to the expo, Clayton Kimpton, earlier told the Herald the country's ability to "squash the curve" when it came to Covid-19 could further enhance its reputation around the world.

''If you're seen to be a healthy country that would seem to be a huge advantage on the world stage," he said.