Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Owen Perry elected to executive of Cambodian international business group

Wairarapa Times Age

By Nathan Crombie

Former Masterton district councillor Owen Perry has won election to an executive national business forum in his adopted home of Cambodia.

Mr Perry, who served a single term as councillor and ran several businesses in Wairarapa with his wife Lorna before shifting to Phnom Penh in September to work alongside his younger brother and national company manager John Perry to establish and run a new office and warehouse.

Mr Perry was this week elected to the executive committee of the International Business Club of Cambodia, an organisation that has for the past 15 years worked to attract and encourage international businesses looking to establish markets in Cambodia.

Mr Perry said the organisation involves 63 "leading-edge expatriate" companies based in Cambodia with member companies representing both national and multinational companies and adherence to international standards of best practice the vital criteria of membership.
He said an important role of the organisation is to work closely with the Royal Cambodian Government through participation in government working groups with the IBC committee made up of senior members of the Cambodian business community as either owners of their own companies or chief executives.

"I look forward to working with my colleagues on the committee and of course the Royal Cambodian Government to foster Cambodian and New Zealand relations as there is no New Zealand embassy here, yet," he said.

"Cambodia is developing very quickly and there is huge investment here from China, Korea, USA and Japan for example. Australia is also well represented here with their embassy."

Mr Perry said business involvement from New Zealand is sparse and "the New Zealand Government would do well to investigate the possibility of establishing a presence on the ground in Cambodia".

"Perhaps Wairarapa MP John Hayes can establish some dialogue on this with the New Zealand Government because as Cambodia modernises there will be mutually beneficial opportunities for NZ and the Cambodian people."

"Cambodia, I feel, is where Singapore was in the 70s and 80s when Lorna and I served there with the New Zealand Forces and Cambodia will be the shining star of Asia before too long because the people are hungry to get ahead in life."

Mr Perry drew parallels between the "tangata whenua" Khmer people of Cambodia and Maori in New Zealand.

"Some foreign countries come here with a paternalistic view of helping the Khmer people and in my view to also try and get control of resources or development contracts," he said.

"The current Prime Minister, Hun Sen, is very staunch that Cambodian resources stay in the hands of the Cambodian people and good on him.

"So being Maori, I can see similarities in the plights of our two peoples. The constant struggle to retain or regain kotahitanga for tangata whenua is very similar."

Mr Perry said he and Lorna have also been working in Cambodia to establish a regular gathering of expatriate Kiwis in the Asian country and have founded a Kiwis in Kampuchea group that meets regularly and earlier this year gathered 150 people to enjoy a traditional Maori hangi.

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