CINZ introduces ‘COVID Code’, as New Zealand gets back to business events

In great news for business events across the ditch, New Zealand has relaxed all coronavirus restrictions, heralding the beginning of the industry’s return.

Thanks to the nation’s success in seemingly eliminating the coronavirus country-wide, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has announced mass gatherings of any scale can take place from this week.

Currently, the country sits at Alert Level 1, which allows people to return without restriction to work, school, sports and domestic travel, and to congregate with “as many people as you want”.

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) chief executive Lisa Hopkins said the industry is pleased to be accelerating the return back to business, starting with a domestic audience.

“Getting to this level has taken less time than we originally envisaged back in March, and we are now the envy of the world,” Hopkins said.

“New Zealand’s team of five million has proved we can unite against this virus, and our industry is committed to keeping New Zealand safe for meetings.

“We want people to understand business events are the safest type of event you can hold, because they are highly organised and managed by professionals who work under strict codes of practice.

“Our message is it is safe to hold a conference, seminar, workshop, incentive travel event and gala dinner under already-developed and enhanced track, tracing, health and hygiene standards.”

It comes after CINZ welcomed a 100-person limit on events last week, which followed its pursuit of an exemption from the Ardern government’s designation of mass gatherings for events.

The association has also released a non-mandatory code for event organisers, dubbed the ‘COVID Code’, which aims to supplement the Ardern government’s ongoing health and hygiene directive.

Hopkins said CINZ remains aware of the need to continue to be vigilant and ensure some of the measures put in place during COVID-19 restrictions remain in place as best practice.

“We have agreed the sector will uphold a culture of compliance to reduce COVID-19 related risks through leadership, influence and education to ensure best practice across the sector,” she said.

“The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment who authored the code, as well as the Ministry of Health, understands that within the business events environment, much of what is being asked is already being done in practice as part of a normal registration process.

“The opening up of our borders, starting with the trans-Tasman bubble, will be key to our success.

“We are fully supportive of the work both governments are doing to expedite this.”

It’s been a productive last few weeks for CINZ, with the association also announcing a new chair for its approved Professional Conference Organisers (PCO) Group last month.

Arna Wahl Davies began her role on 1 June 2020, bringing 20 years of event management experience. She is the co-founder and director of Composition, a professional conference organising company which manages mid to large-size conferences throughout New Zealand.

Davies takes over the role from the group’s previous chair, Ali Copeman, who spent three years in the role.

Hopkins said: “Arna is passionate about the business events sector, and we are delighted to have her energy and expertise continuing to drive the group forward.”

Commenting on her appointment, Davies said: “At this time, when our industry is facing unique challenges, I’m proud to be chairing this leading group of highly skilled and accredited event professionals.”

Featured image: iStock/Mlenny