New Zealand will host Apec in 2021 using virtual platforms

The annual Apec leaders' meeting is due in November 2021. PHOTO: APECNEWS/FACEBOOK

WELLINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - New Zealand's hosting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in 2021 will go ahead using virtual digital platforms rather than the usual series of conferences and high-level meetings.

While the annual Apec leaders meeting wouldn't be held until November 2021, hosting requires thousands of people entering New Zealand from late 2020, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said in a statement on Tuesday (June 30) in Wellington. The government is making the call now for planning and security purposes, he said.

"Given the current global environment, planning to have such a large volume of high-level visitors in New Zealand from late 2020 onwards is impractical," Peters said. "We simply couldn't guarantee these people would be able to enter New Zealand without being quarantined."

Peters said Covid-19 has seriously impacted how international diplomacy is conducted, and many other international government-to-government events are already being held using virtual digital platforms.

"This decision to 'go virtual' is a pragmatic solution which preserves New Zealand's longstanding commitment to host Apec 2021," he said.

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