NZ 'isolated, unfamiliar' in some trade markets - study

Source: 1News

New research from the trading sector claims New Zealand is being perceived as "isolated, unfamiliar and closed" by some international markets over its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

New Zealand Story, a Government initiative working to enhance the nation’s reputation overseas has released new research about how trading partners perceive Aotearoa in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

CEO of NZ Story David Downs told Breakfast their work is about ensuring the world knows who New Zealand is “authentically”.

“We’re known for the beauty of our landscapes and our film industry and that’s wonderful but we want people to understand we’re a trustworthy nation full of innovative people who care for the planet and each other,” Downs said.

“That stuff really resonates – when we talk about who we are authentically as New Zealanders, the rest of the world pays attention.”

Auckland, New Zealand - October 13, 2015: Maersk Line cargo ship unloading containers in Ports of Auckland New Zealand. It is the world's largest container shipping company operates over 600 vessels worldwide.

Downs said their findings have seen New Zealand’s image undergo an interesting evolution in the past 12 months.

“There’s a lot of positives [in our study] but certainly in some quarters with some of our trading partners – say like Germany, Japan or Dubai for example – they are seeing us as remote and distant now,” he said.

“That’s perhaps given the vaccine rollouts they’ve had in their own countries and relative to what they’re seeing in their own countries compared to us, they’re seeing us as not as up to speed with them.”

Downs added there’s a simple counter to that though.

“What we need to do though is make sure there was a reason for [our slow vaccine rollout] in that our care for people and each other has required that sort of response.

“It’s better to know what people think about us and then be able to respond than not know.”

On a positive note, the study found some of New Zealand’s biggest trading partners such as Australia, the US and China, have increased their understanding of Aotearoa’s “nuance”.

“They see us as this welcoming place of people who are trustworthy and decisive and inclusive and progressive,” Downs said.

“Australia’s perceptions of New Zealand are nearing an all-time high.

“There’s lots of positives to take out of it.”