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Govt to spend $53m on World Expo pavilion

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/05/2017

The government is going to spend $53.3 million designing, building, promoting and operating New Zealand's pavilion at the 2020 World Expo in Dubai. © Marty Melville/Getty Images The government is going to spend $53.3 million designing, building, promoting and operating New Zealand's pavilion at the 2020 World Expo in Dubai. The government is going to spend $53.3 million designing, building, promoting and operating New Zealand's pavilion at the 2020 World Expo in Dubai.

The money will be in next week's budget, and Foreign Minister Jerry Brownlee says there are big benefits to be gained.

"Our $53.3m is about 0.5 per cent of current New Zealand exports to the Gulf States," he said on Thursday.

"Since New Zealand's participation in the Shanghai Expo in 2020, with a free trade agreement with China in place, exports have grown 300 per cent - from just over $2 billion to more than $6b."

Mr Brownlee says Dubai 2020 presents a potential expansion of the same magnitude.

"It will allow New Zealand to challenge perceptions beyond agricultural commodities and tourism, to broader high growth sectors in IT, health, infrastructure and education."

He also sees diplomatic opportunities.

"Attendance at this expo will build on our already strong relations with the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf countries," he said.

"Strong relations in this region will ultimately lead to a range of positive outcomes, including greater trade and investment."

The government commissioned financial consultants EY to assess the business benefits.

"Despite adopting a pessimistic model and using conservative figures, the indicative business case calculates that New Zealand will have comfortably recouped our investment by 2025."

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