Thursday, 18 May 2017 07:44

PM meets with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe

Prime Minister Bill English and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterated their commitment to the Trans-Pacific-Partnership (TPP) in a meeting in Tokyo today.

“Both New Zealand and Japan remain committed to seeing the TPP Agreement come into force, while at the same time ensuring there are opportunities for other economies to join,” Mr English says.

“The TPP remains valuable both economically and strategically for New Zealand. It will improve access for our exporters and lower tariffs around the Asia-Pacific.”

Mr English and Prime Minister Abe also discussed a number of key bilateral issues, and shared their concerns on regional and international issues including North Korea, and the threat of international terrorism.

“We value Japan’s views on these issues,” Mr English says. “Japan and New Zealand are close friends and have partnerships in a number of areas including trade and investment, science and technology and security and defence.

“Today we agreed that renewable energy and agriculture will be two areas which we will focus on in the next few years,” Mr English says.

“Sport will also feature with Japan set to host Rugby World Cup in 2019, the Olympics and Paralympic Games in 2020 and the World Masters’ Games in 2021.

“I was pleased to announce that the All Blacks will play a test in Japan in November 2018,” Mr English says.

Mr English was accompanied on his visit to Japan by Minister of Trade Todd McClay, and a delegation of senior business leaders.

Japan is New Zealand’s fifth largest trading partner, with two-way trade totalling over $7 billion, and the fifth largest source of foreign investment. Over 100,000 Japanese visit New Zealand each year, including nearly 10,000 students.

“My visit recognises the strength of our long-standing relationship, and the important role that Japan plays in our region,” says Mr English.

|  A Beehive release  ||  May 18, 2017   |||

Published in POLITICAL

1. Prime Minister of New Zealand the Right Honourable Bill English and Prime Minister of Japan His Excellency Shinzo Abe held a productive meeting in Tokyo on 17th May 2017. The two leaders reiterated the Strategic Cooperative Partnership between New Zealand and Japan founded on common values, such as freedom, democracy, rule of law and human rights, as well as a strong commitment to peace and security, free trade and investment, and sustainable development.

2. The two leaders acknowledged the success and maturity of New Zealand –Japan relationship at all levels, reflecting strong cooperation over many years.

3. The two leaders reiterated their firm commitment to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Prime Minister Abe welcomed New Zealand’s recent ratification of the TPP Agreement, alongside Japan. The two leaders appreciated the value of the TPP in enhancing high-standard regional trade rules and architecture, and contributing to growth, competition, innovation, and productivity that creates jobs and lower costs to consumers, as well as its strategic benefits. The two leaders affirmed the importance of close cooperation in realising TPP’s strategic and economic benefits and remain committed to maintaining the unity among the signatories and early entry into force of the TPP Agreement, whilst bearing in mind opportunities for other economies to join if they accept the high standards of the TPP. They also confirmed that New Zealand and Japan continue to work together on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement negotiations to achieve a high-quality agreement, covering trade in goods, trade in services, and investment as well as rules such as trade facilitation, rules of origin, e-commerce, intellectual property and government procurement, reaffirming the RCEP Guiding Principles and the Joint Statements by RCEP Leaders. They shared the view that ambitious, comprehensive, balanced, and high-standard TPP and RCEP outcomes would contribute positively to the shared goal of regional economic integration.

4. The two leaders condemned in the strongest terms North Korea’s nuclear tests, repeated ballistic missile launches and proliferation activities. They strongly urged North Korea to cease its destabilising and provocative actions immediately and to fully comply with its international obligations and commitments, including those under relevant United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions. The two leaders welcomed the unanimous adoption of UN Security Council resolution 2321 and emphasised the importance of enhancing pressure on North Korea through full, thorough and sustained implementation by Member States of all relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including Resolutions 2270 and 2321. The two leaders strongly urged North Korea to resolve the abductions issue at the earliest time.

5. The two leaders underlined the importance of ensuring a stable, free and open rules-based order and of enhancing connectivity in our region and beyond. They confirmed that New Zealand and Japan will continue to work proactively in this regard, together with other like-minded partners. Prime Minister English appreciated the briefing by Prime Minister Abe on Japan’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” and welcomed Japan’s greater engagement in the region.

6. The two leaders also re-emphasised the importance of upholding the rules-based regional and international order in the maritime domain, and called on all states to respect freedom of navigation and overflight, and unimpeded trade. They reaffirmed that any issues in the maritime domain should be resolved peacefully and in accordance with international law and expressed their strong opposition to any use of force or actions that could increase tensions.

7. In this regard, the two leaders expressed concern over the situation in the South China Sea and called on the parties to settle disputes by peaceful means in accordance with United Nations
Conventions on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and in light of the award rendered by the Arbitral Tribunal on 12 July 2016. They called on all parties to uphold freedom of navigation and overflight and ensure unimpeded trade while avoiding provocative actions that could increase tensions and erode regional trust and confidence, including land reclamation, building of outposts, construction and militarisation.

8. The two leaders encouraged early finalisation of an effective Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) and full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety.

9. The two leaders welcomed the contribution of the East Asia Summit (EAS) and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) as important elements of regional architecture that promote stability and prosperity and advance regional economic integration. Japan welcomed New Zealand’s hosting of APEC in 2021.

10. Recognising the unique and complex challenges in the Pacific region, the two leaders emphasised the importance of cooperation between Japan, New Zealand, and the Pacific island countries to build economic and environmental resilience and maintain regional peace and stability. The two leaders committed to continue practical cooperation and policy consultation.

11. The two leaders acknowledged the commitment to develop the security and defence relationship following the signing of a Memorandum of Intent on Defence Cooperation in 2013. They welcomed recent concrete progress on the unit-to-unit exchanges and underscored the importance to seek further exchange and cooperation opportunities. They encouraged their officials to continue work on a possible acquisition and cross-servicing agreement (ACSA) between the two countries.

12. The two leaders encouraged stronger business linkages between Japan and New Zealand in areas of complementary strengths. They reaffirmed the importance of strengthening the partnership in food and agriculture between the two countries, and a shared commitment to food quality and safety. They welcomed the recent growth in research and commercialisation partnerships in functional food, elderly care technologies, agri-business, and geothermal energy. The two leaders welcomed the ongoing discussion between their officials to explore a Japan-New Zealand partnership on renewable energy. Prime Minister English welcomed Japan’s upcoming role as Chair of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA). The two leaders instructed their officials to resume Joint Economic Consultations.

13. The two leaders welcomed enhanced bilateral cooperation in sport, culture and people-to- people linkages. They stated their intention to cooperate for the success of the Rugby World Cup 2019, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the World Masters Games 2021 to be hosted by Japan. They appreciated both initiatives; “Sport for Tomorrow” and “Game on English”. They also welcomed the signing of the bilateral Memorandum of Cooperation between the Japan Sports Agency and the Sport New Zealand. The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of sister city exchanges for promoting mutual understanding especially among young people.

14. With their past experiences of natural disasters in both countries, including great earthquakes, the two leaders shared the intention that both sides will seek further opportunities to work together to enhance recovery and resilience in the region.

15. The two leaders reaffirmed that Japan and New Zealand would continue to work closely together on global issues such as security, disarmament and non-proliferation, human rights, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, climate change, the UN Security Council reform, based on their shared commitment to common democratic values, peace and security, free trade and investment, and international law. "The information contained in this email message is intended only for the addressee and is not necessarily the official view or communication of the Ministry. It may be legally privileged. If you are not the intended recipient you must not use, disclose, copy or distribute this message or the information in it as this may be unlawful. If you have received this message in error, please email or telephone the sender immediately."

Bill English
Prime Minister

|  A Beehive rrelease  ||  May 18, 2017   |||

Published in POLITICAL
Thursday, 11 May 2017 12:44

PM to visit Japan and Hong Kong

Prime Minister Bill English will travel to Japan next week to meet with Prime Minister Abe to discuss a range of global and regional issues, before travelling to Hong Kong to promote New Zealand’s economic and trade interests.

“I am looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Abe and discussing a wide range of issues, including trade and security, and initiatives our two countries are working on together in food, education, sport and defence,” Mr English says.

“Strengthening our trade and economic links with Japan will be a focus, including through the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“New Zealand has long-standing and strong ties with Japan. My visit is an opportunity to help New Zealand businesses explore new ways of working more closely with Japan.

“My focus in Hong Kong will be to advance New Zealand’s economic relationship, build on our connections with some of the largest Hong Kong investors into New Zealand, and facilitate greater business and trade opportunities,” Mr English says.

During the visit to Hong Kong Mr English will meet with the current Chief Executive Mr CY Leung and incoming Chief Executive Mrs Carrie Lam.

In Japan, the Prime Minister will be accompanied by Trade Minister Todd McClay, and a delegation of senior business leaders.

Mr English will leave on May 16 and return on May 20.

The business delegation includes: Sir Graeme Harrison (chair ANZCO), Rachel Taulelei (chief executive Kono), John Wilson (chair Fonterra), Whaimutu Dewes (chair Sealord/Moana), Lain Jager (chief executive Zespri), Steve Tew (chief executive NZRU) Ian Simpson (chief executive GNS), Brian Stanley (chair Wood Council of NZ), Graeme Muller (chair NZ Tech), Simon Draper (executive Director Asia NZ Foundation) and Mike Allen (New Zealand Special Envoy for Renewable Energy).

|  A Beehive release  ||   May 11, 2017   |||

Published in POLITICAL

ABU DHABI - Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has held a telephone conversation with Gerry Brownlee, Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand, congratulating him on his appointment.

During the telephone conversation, Shaikh Abdullah expressed his happiness as New Zealand announced that it joined the list of countries that have signalled their participation in Expo 2020 Dubai. Shaikh Abdullah and Brownlee also discussed joint cooperation relations between the UAE and New Zealand and means of boosting them.

|  A Gulf News release  ||  May 09, 2017   |||

Published in POLITICAL

New Ambassador to Iraq announced

Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee has today named Bradley Sawden as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Iraq.

New Zealand established an Embassy in Baghdad in 2015 to support New Zealand and Australia’s joint ‘Building Partner Capacity’ mission.

“This mission has trained over 20,000 Iraqi police and army personnel who are on the frontlines of the fight against Daesh,” Mr Brownlee says.

“Mr Sawden will be charged with supporting New Zealand’s non-combat training mission to Iraq and assessing how we can continue to support and build relations with the Iraqi government.

“In addition to leading New Zealand’s engagement with the Iraq government and providing diplomatic support to the training mission, our Embassy will also be responsible for maintaining relations with the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq,” Mr Brownlee says.

Mr Sawden has been involved in national and international security issues across the defence and security sector of the New Zealand government.

His most recent posting was in New York as Counsellor at the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations during New Zealand’s tenure as a member of the United Nations Security Council.

|  A Beehive release  ||  May 09, 2017   |||

Published in POLITICAL

Trade Minister Todd McClay will chair the first meeting of the Trade Ministerial Advisory Group today (MAG) and says it builds on a strong campaign of new engagement opportunities in the trade portfolio.

“Trade contributed $70 billion to the New Zealand economy last year alone and hundreds of thousands of jobs depend on it. We all have a stake in the continued success of our export sector,” Mr McClay says.

“The MAG has been set up with this in mind and will provide better engagement on all trade issues. It will also serve as a more direct avenue for a wider range of interested parties to engage with the Government.”

The MAG includes representation from iwi, unions and NGOs, as well as industry bodies for primary industry, wood, seafood, tourism, education, horticulture, aviation and technology.

This first meeting of the MAG will focus on the detail of Trade Agenda 2030 and the first stages in the Government’s plans for implementing the new strategy.

“Trade Agenda 2030 sets a target of 90 percent of our goods exports being covered by FTAs by 2030. We are also looking to tackle non-tariff barriers more effectively and focusing more on new growth opportunities in trade in services, investment and the digital economy,” Mr McClay says

“We are charting an ambitious course ahead for trade deals and market access. It must be underpinned by a comprehensive programme of engagement that also aims to make more information available to the wider public.”

More information about the MAG can be found at: https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/trade/nz-trade-policy/ministerial-advisory-group-on-trade/

|  A Beehive release  ||  May 05,2017   |||

Published in TRADE

Newly appointed Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee has wasted no time dealing with the diplomatic intricacies of his new role, reaching out to Israel and advocating for Kiwis' rights in Australia. He spoke to Sam Sachdeva about the difficulty of following in Murray McCully's footsteps, and the legacy he leaves behind in Christchurch.


Gerry Brownlee, natural diplomat?

The reaction of some to his appointment as Foreign Minister is perhaps no surprise - after all, this is the man who took it upon himself to insult the people of Finland during a parliamentary debate.

However, take into account Brownlee’s experience as defence minister and his time forging cross-party consensus as Leader of the House, and it’s easier to see why Prime Minister Bill English saw him as a safe pair of hands.

Brownlee sees his new role not so much as a promotion, rather a progression on the work he has been doing for the past few years.

“I’ve always kept a fairly close eye on foreign relations and what was happening in that particular portfolio, and in defence you do quite a lot of 'defence diplomacy' if you like, so it seemed like a natural progression in a way.”

|  A NewsRoom release  ||  May 04, 2017   |||  Continue to read full article here

Published in POLITICAL
Tuesday, 02 May 2017 08:50

New Ambassador to France appointed

Foreign Minister Murray McCully has appointed diplomat Jane Coombs as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to France.

“New Zealand’s relationship with France is one of our most long-standing and vibrant, and it remains an important partner within the European Union,” Mr McCully says.

“Since 2014, we have been jointly commemorating both the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the death of thousands of New Zealand soldiers on French soil.

“France is one of our major trading partners in Europe and our relationship will prove important in our forthcoming negotiations for an FTA with the EU.

“The Ambassador to France is also Permanent Representative to the OECD. Contributing to and drawing from the OECD economic assessments and peer review processes are a valuable way to benchmark New Zealand’s economic performance.”

Ms Coombs is currently Divisional Manager of the North Asian Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She has also served as Manager of the Americas Division, Deputy Chief of Mission in Washington DC and Ambassador to Korea in Seoul.

Ms Coombs has accreditations to the Principality of Monaco, Portugal and Senegal.

| A beehive release  ||  April 28, 2017   |||

Published in POLITICAL
Friday, 28 April 2017 19:53

Emmanuel Macron is Gallic John Key

Only age and hemispheres separate the identical twins of Social Democracy


 Slight of build and with their perma-grins they even look alike. The two clever sticks share similar backgrounds, give a zig-zag or two.

Both are outsiders who put themselves on the inside – and both entered party politics at the same age

Mr Macron is from a wealthy professional family and he went into the Socialist Party.

Mr Key is from a working background and he went into the conservative National Party.

Both made their name and fortunes in big name investment banking, Mr Macron with Rothschild. Mr Key with Merrill Lynch.

Both displaced in their upward trajectory seemingly permanent institutional figures.

Mr Macron has swept away France’s underpinning centrist conservative party, and its leader Francois Fillon.

Both seem from a very early to have seen their destiny in politics. Both in their different ways are dedicated family men.

Both established strong institutional careers in finance prior to public life and thus boast that they are not professional politicians

A notable difference here being that Mr Macron did not have to wait for acceptance by an established party, and simply unwrapped his own, En Marche.

Mr Macron entered party politics in the same year that Mr Key handed in his prime minister’s warrant and quit party politics

Both Mr Key and Mr Macron are anything but dreamers. Their ascent is a product of their ability in the sphere of risk assessment: constantly calculating and weighing up the probabilities in the options before them.

Both understood the value in Napoleon’s dictum to the effect that those of high ambition and ability ascending the ranks do well to conceal their field marshal’s baton.

Mr Macron pulled out his baton a year ago when he suddenly resigned as President Hollande’s economics minister and went out on his own with his own party France En Marche which is best translated as France on the Move.

His calculation was that all the existing parties had lost their appeal and he has just been proved right as the Republicans were swept aside and the ruling Socialist Party hardly figured at all.

France’s left of the left, gauche de la gauche, was similarly swept from France’s variegated political board.

Mr Macron’s calculation can now be viewed for what it is. He has cleared away the clutter of parties from the landscape and has left the electorate with two clear options in the form of the National Front or his own En Marche.

En Marche is essentially a Gallic version of Tony Blair or John Key’ middle way, with its accompanying flexible and inclusive policies.

Like his Oceania avatar John Key, Mr Macron keeps his options open, preferring to give the impression that he will deal with the problems as they are encountered instead of sweeping them away with a ruthless doctrinal broom.

In Mr Macron’s inclusiveness will be his biggest operational problem. In sticking to the EU he must also adhere to the Euro currency.

This collective single currency contains 19 different public debts, 19 interest rates, 19 tax rates. All free to speculate in.

The shackling effect of this uniform currency is often considered to be the chain that binds and which explains why the Eurozone is taking so long to recover from the United States-induced bank bust.

Mr Macron might now be putting a probe into Mr Key’s stewardship of his economy which recovered so quickly from the same event that it seems a miracle that the nation did not succumb to a collective bends.

Mr Key personifies an entire anthology of French proverbs to the effect that the cleverest thing a clever person can do is to conceal how clever they in fact are.

He has simply quoted the Economist’s “rock star” economy value judgement on the success of his government.

Mr Macron meanwhile being from a Mediterranean nation does not have this need for public modesty and can let his light shine forth.

|  From the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ||  Friday 27 April 2017   |||

Published in POLITICAL
Wednesday, 26 April 2017 08:38

New Zealand supporting dam safety in Vietnam

New Zealand is funding a five-year $5.4 million project to help Vietnam reduce dam-related flooding on the Ca River.

New Zealand is funding a five-year project to reduce dam-related flooding in Vietnam.

The two countries have launched a $5.4 million initiative focusing on the 1000km Ca River.

The aim is to halve the death toll from flooding on the river and reduce associated economic losses by 30 per cent by 2021.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully says New Zealand will be sharing its expertise in water engineering and natural hazard management.

Issues include effective assessment of dams most in need of repair, coordination between dam owners and communities, and upgrading the training for future water managers.

Vietnam has more than 7000 dams and over the past 10 years there have been 43 unplanned water releases or dam failures.

|  A Beehive release  ||  April 26, 2017   |||

Published in POLITICAL
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