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  • 18 Oct 2016 9:19 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    United States Navy ship, the USS Sampson, has been given clearance to visit New Zealand next month by Prime Minister John Key.

    “I am pleased to announce that the USS Sampson, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, will attend the Royal New Zealand Navy’s International Naval Review in November,” Mr Key says.

    “Under New Zealand’s nuclear free legislation I am required to be satisfied that any foreign military ship entering New Zealand is not nuclear armed.

    “I have granted this approval after careful consideration of the advice provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

    “New Zealand’s legislation also does not allow ships which are nuclear propelled into New Zealand and the advice I received from officials is that the USS Sampson is not nuclear powered.

    “The process for considering the visit by the USS Sampson is the same as that used for all ships attending the International Naval Review.  This process has been used for all military ships visiting New Zealand since the legislation was enacted.

    “New Zealand looks forward to the USS Sampson’s participation in the International Naval Review to mark the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary. The visit is a further reflection of the depth of the bilateral relationship with the United States,” Mr Key says.

    The International Naval Review is being held in Auckland 17-22 November 2016.

  • 26 Sep 2016 4:53 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Prime Minister John Key has reinforced the benefits of the Trans Pacific Partnership in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York today.

    Mr Key told the Council he welcomes the priority that the US Administration has placed on TPP’s passage through Congress this year.

    “The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will help liberalise trade and investment between 12 Pacific-rim countries,” says Mr Key. “It will provide better access for goods and services to more than 800 million people across the TPP countries, which make up 36 per cent of global GDP.

    “For New Zealand, it’s estimated it will boost our economy by at least $2.7 billion a year by 2030. It will help diversify our economy and create more jobs and higher incomes for New Zealanders.

    “And the reality is that these benefits will grow as other countries join the TPP – a number have already signalled an interest in doing so.”

    Mr Key says while some in the US might not think the TPP is the perfect deal, the idea that it can be renegotiated to get a better outcome is unrealistic. 

    “The region will not wait for you. Asian countries are determined to grow and they realise to grow they need to remove trade barriers. This will happen with or without the United States.” 

    Mr Key says the benefits of the TPP are wider than just economic.

    “Free trade agreements not only lift exports and create jobs they also help solidify political relationships and help increase security.

    “The TPP is important in maintaining the United States leadership and influence in the Asia Pacific region. I urge them to do all they can to get the TPP over the line.”

  • 26 Sep 2016 4:52 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Education Minister Hekia Parata says her meetings with education experts and leaders in the United States confirmed that New Zealand’s education system is a world-leader in preparing young people for the 21st century.

    Ms Parata joined international education experts and leaders, including OECD Secretary-General, Dr Angel Gurria and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, for discussions at the Asia Society Center for Global Education in New York.

    “The Center is focusing on how education systems can build global competencies and global citizenry among students all over the world. New Zealand’s focus on a broad and diverse curriculum that develops competent, confident and connected citizens was of great interest to the Center,” says Ms Parata.

    Another highlight was a meeting with Dr Craig Nevill-Manning, a New Zealander known on the world stage as a leading computer science educator and technological innovator. He established Google's first remote software engineering centre in Manhattan, and is now Chief Technology Officer at the company Sidewalk Labs.

    “Dr Nevill-Manning’s career is an inspiration to young New Zealanders studying science and technology subjects. He is a shining example of what science and technology students can achieve”.

    Dr Nevill-Manning is a former doctoral student of Professor Tim Bell at Canterbury University who has been a key advisor on making digital technology a core part of the New Zealand curriculum.

    Ms Parata also met with Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT), an innovative US start-up that provides a platform for teachers to share curriculum resources with each other.

    “I was interested to hear that a significant number of New Zealand teachers are participating in TPT, both as users of the resources as well as some designers."

    Digital technology is a topic Ms Parata will explore further this week at the Global Education Industry Summit in Israel, a country known for technological innovation.

    “We have worked hard in New Zealand to ensure our schools have access to the best digital technologies available. We recognise that our children and young people need to be confident using a broad range of digital technologies. The Summit will be another opportunity to share our experiences, while exploring those of other countries.”

  • 04 Sep 2016 9:39 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has named new Consuls-General in Guangzhou, Los Angeles and Honolulu.

    Rachel Maidment will be New Zealand’s next Consul-General Guangzhou. Following a 10 year career as a diplomat, she established a leading Asia consultancy, Navigate, providing services to a wide range of government and private sector clients.

    “Guangzhou is one of China’s largest and most prosperous cities, and is now the centre for politics, business, innovation and culture in South China,” says Mr McCully.

    “As the third largest municipal economy in China after Beijing and Shanghai, the city is one of the main gateways for New Zealand’s burgeoning trade with China. Guangdong province is home to China Southern Airlines and a major source of tourists and investors.”

    Maurice Williamson will be appointed as Consul-General in Los Angeles. He has been MP for Pakuranga since 1987 and has held several Ministerial portfolios, including Science and Technology and Information Technology.

    “Mr Williamson will be responsible for engagement with US investors and innovators to ensure New Zealand policies and exporters remain at the leading edge of change,” Mr McCully says.

    “California and other western states of America are major export markets for New Zealand and important investment partners, particularly in added-value food and beverage and technology.  The United States is New Zealand’s largest market for intellectual property-based exports, and those exports will continue to grow strongly.”

    Karena Lyons will be the next Consul-General in Hawaii and will also be New Zealand’s accredited Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau and Republic of Marshall Islands. She is a diplomat who served in New York during New Zealand’s United Nations Security Council campaign and most recently as an advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

    “The Consulate-General in Honolulu is a vital post for managing New Zealand’s relationship with the United States in the Pacific region,” Mr McCully says.

    “As the home of the United States Pacific Command, Honolulu is the focal point for US engagement in the Asia Pacific region.

    “Ms Lyons will also be responsible for managing our development, fisheries and disaster risk management work in the northern Pacific.”

  • 19 Aug 2016 10:31 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    The 17th annual AmCham DHL Express Success & Innovation Awards were held at the Pullman Auckland Hotel last night, with Douglas Pharmaceuticals winning the Supreme Award for trade with the United States.

    Award judging panel member, Alex Broughton said “Douglas demonstrates a very high standard of business strategy, operation and performance. The establishment of Douglas Pharmaceuticals America in 2003 to sell generics into the US pharmaceutical market has delivered standout growth with Douglas Pharmaceuticals on track to grow their global sales to $244m by 2020. The Judges also noted that Douglas Pharmaceuticals are committed to continuous Innovative R&D investment”.

    Mark Foy, Country Manager for DHL Express New Zealand, who announced the supreme winner, said: “Douglas Pharmaceuticals epitomises the Kiwi success story and reflects the entrepreneurial and innovative businesses that are experiencing on-going growth trading with the U.S. As a rapidly-expanding pharmaceutical company with a reputation for high manufacturing standards, Douglas Pharmaceuticals has grown their export business into the U.S. in a relatively short timeframe and we congratulate them on their success.”

    The Supreme Award is chosen from the winners of each of the categories presented on the night. The complete list of winners is as follows:

    • Importer of the Year from the USA: Ford Motor Company of New Zealand Ltd
    • Investor of the Year to or from the USA: Baxter Healthcare Ltd
    • Exporter of the Year – under NZ$1 million: Heilala Vanilla Ltd
    • Exporter of the Year – NZ$1 million – $10 million:  Aranz Medical Ltd
    • Exporter of the Year – over NZ$10 million: Douglas Pharmaceuticals Ltd
    • Trevor Eagle Memorial Award – AmCham Supporter of the Year: Everedge Global (NZ) Ltd
    • Eric & Kathy Hertz Award for Citizen Diplomacy: Bodeker Scientific Ltd
    • Supreme Award Winner:  Douglas Pharmaceuticals Ltd


    This year’s award finalists were some of the strongest AmCham has seen in the last seventeen years and the judges decided to award a number of Highly Commended certificates. These were presented to:
    Autogrow Systems Ltd
    Howick Ltd
    ExportX Ltd
    Constellation Brands New Zealand
    WhereScape Software Ltd

    The AmCham DHL Express Success & Innovation Awards celebrate success and innovation in the export, import and investment sectors between New Zealand and its third-largest trading partner, the USA.  Winners of the importer, exporter and the Eric & Kathy Hertz award categories receive 100,000 airline miles from Hawaiian Airlines. 

    In addition to AmCham, DHL-Express and Hawaiian Airlines, the Awards are also supported by 3M New Zealand, Baldwins, Fonterra, Prescient Marketing & Communications, The Pullman Auckland Hotel, media partner The Business, and wine sponsor Fine Wine Delivery Company.

    Other previous winners of the Supreme Award include Zespri International, Specialist Marine Interiors, Peace Software, Airways Corporation, HumanWare, Tenon, Zeacom, Pratt & Whitney Air New Zealand Services t/a Christchurch Engine Centre, Fonterra Co-operative Group, Buckley Systems, Vista Entertainment, Greenshell New Zealand, Orion Health and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare.

  • 22 Jul 2016 4:26 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Government House, Auckland, New Zealand 21 July 2016

    PRIME MINISTER KEY:  Okay, so good morning.  Can I start by acknowledging the Vice President?  We’re delighted to have you in New Zealand, sir.  And it’s great to have you here.  

    The relationship between New Zealand and the United States continues to strengthen, and your visit further reinforces the long-standing friendship between our two countries.  We have just concluded a very useful meeting where we covered a number of international issues of shared interest. 

    We spoke about our commitment to working together to address some of the significant threats to international peace and security that we face today – in particular, the threat of ISIL, its brand of terrorism, and its incitement to violence against innocent civilians is of significant concern.

    The recent attacks in Nice, Brussels, Baghdad and Florida are just some of the horrific examples of why we need to work together in the global effort to defeat ISIL.

    New Zealand recently extended our training deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.  These compliment the extensive efforts of the United States and others to counter the threat of international terrorism and to assist governments in the Middle East to bring stability to their countries.

    We discussed the ongoing tragic events in Syria, and I acknowledged the efforts of the United States to bring some stability back to that country.  New Zealand is doing all it can in its role on the U.N. Security Council to support the people of Syria.  

    The Asia Pacific region is of particular focus for both countries, and we talked about how we might be able to cooperate further, in particular on security capacity building.

    New Zealand is looking to increase its efforts in the region on countering violent extremism, preventing the movement of foreign terrorist fighters, and stopping the financing of terrorism.  

    I welcome the increased attention the United States is paying to this part of the world.  New Zealand’s commitment to playing its part in strengthening global security was also reflected in recent discussions and decisions to increase funding for our intelligence and defense capabilities.

    The Vice President also confirmed that the United States has accepted our invitation to participate in the 75th Anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Navy and intends to send a ship to these celebrations.  I’m naturally and obviously pleased that they’ve accepted.

    The International Naval Review is an important occasion for us, and we hope to have many of our friends here to celebrate alongside us.  Both countries and both governments also remain committed to advancing trade opportunities.  We discussed our respective progress towards ratifying TPP, as well as the importance of the agreement and helping to lead economic integration efforts in the region. 

    We were also able to discuss more technical bilateral issues affecting trade, including New Zealand’s desire to see an improvement in business visa access to the United States. 

    My recent trip to Europe and the UK and Indonesia also featured including the trade opportunities and challenges as a result of Brexit.  And we discussed last week’s Arbitration Tribunal decision on the South China Sea.  While New Zealand does not take a position on the various territorial claims, we have consistently said that the differing interests in the region should be managed peacefully and in accordance with international law.  It is New Zealand’s view that it’s in all parties’ interests to ensure that the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea is respected.  And we hope that the tribunal’s ruling can provide a platform for resolving these issues. 

    New Zealand and the United States are both committed to supporting efforts to find peaceful solutions to these long-standing and very complex issues. 

    Finally, I explained the Vice President why New Zealand believes Helen Clark is the best candidate for the U.N. Secretary General’s role.  This firmly held view is based on her track record as Prime Minister of New Zealand and her leadership of the UNDP.  We believe she would bring strong and pragmatic leadership to the organization and an ability to work constructively with the U.N. membership.

    So today has been a valuable opportunity to discuss a range of issues of importance to both countries.  I’d like to thank the Vice President for taking time to visit New Zealand.  The friendship between our two countries reflects our common values and shared interests, and the relationship has never been stronger.

    Thank you once again.  Mr. Vice President, I offer the opportunity to speak.

    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.  And by the way, I’m not going home.  (Laughter.)  What a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful country.  You have a beautiful setting.

    Good afternoon, everyone.  I am so pleased to be here in New Zealand.  And I want to thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, for the welcome you extended to me and to my granddaughters who are with me.  And I’m also honored to receive a tradition Maori welcome before our meeting.  They made me a genuine hero with my granddaughters.  And earlier today, I got to meet a few real New Zealand heroes – two of the members of the All Blacks.  I am a – 400 years ago I played rugby when I was in law school, and I played college – American football.  And I was telling them, the two representatives of the All Blacks that came to see me this morning, Mr. Prime Minister, that my brother was a rugby player, as well.  And one day when I was a young senator during a recess period, he said, the All Blacks are playing four matches in Ireland.  And so we packed up, and we followed them all through Ireland.  There was nothing but carnage left behind.  (Laughter.)  But I am a real fan.

    And I also want to extend my appreciation to all the people of New Zealand for the incredible hospitality our very short visit has generated.

    The United States and New Zealand, as the Prime Minister pointed out, have made incredible progress in our bilateral relationship during the Obama-Biden administration with you, Mr. Prime Minister.  And we signed early on the Wellington Declaration in 2010, and two years later, the Washington delegation – the Washington Declaration to rebuild closer ties between our nations.  

    And today we take another major step to further our friendships.  It’s with great pleasure and honor, Mr. Prime Minister, the United States does accept – gladly accepts the invitation to send a ship to the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th celebration this November.  And it will be another expression of our close and cooperative relationship between both of our countries that we’ve worked together so hard to strengthen.

    Mr. Prime Minister, we both discussed, as you point out, a wide range of issues where New Zealand and the United States are working together as we speak; starting with economic cooperation.  Our trade and our investment relationship is steadily growing.  We’re doing more business together, investing more in each other’s countries.  And together, we have led the way in creating high-standard trading agreements that are necessary to uphold the liberal economic order of this new century; agreements that protect workers’ rights, preserve the environment, and significantly safeguard intellectual property.  

    And the vast economic potential here in the Asia Pacific exists, and this is – my guess is the 21st century will be marked by the progress made in the Asia Pacific region.  But unlocking it depends on how well we manage differences that exist in the region peacefully and how we maintain stability that is essential to economic growth.

    That’s why both of our nations have issued statements – urging China and Philippines to abide the Arbitration Tribunal’s ruling last week regarding the South China Sea.  And both our nations understand that continued peace and prosperity in Asia is incumbent upon our ability to protect the environment.  So New Zealand and the United States are working together to put this plan on a more sustainable path, to address climate change, and to also increase our role with the goal you have so significantly set of renewable energy – 81 percent of our energy is now renewable.  That far exceeds where we are, but is a goal that we are attempting to achieve, as well.

    On the security front, the Prime Minister and I reiterated our commitment to work as partners to promote peace and provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief throughout the region.  Together, we are strengthening the region’s ability to address challenges both through multilateral institutions.  New Zealand is an incredibly valuable partner in the U.N. Security Council, a committed contributor to the counter-ISIL coalition.  And we stand united against the evil that these terrorists promote around the world.

    And I said somewhat humorously to Prime Minister that I wish we had the partisan zeal – nonpartisan zeal that you have.  If the potential nominee for – become Secretary General could hear what the opposition had to say, I was impressed.  I thought she was his sister.  (Laughter.)  It was amazing.  But all kidding aside we have very high regard for your nominee, and she is one that is being closely considered.


    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN:  But the most important connection between our nations has always been our people.  Americans and Kiwis are cut from the same cloth fiercely independent and tenacious.  And if you excuse, as we used to say in the United States Senate, a point of personal privilege, I grew up hearing about the Kiwis from my grandfather Finnegan, who lost one of his sons in New Guinea and another son came back very badly injured.  But every time the Kiwis were mentioned, he literally would straighten his shoulders, and the same with the Aussies.  The regard that New Zealand is held in in the United States – I doubt whether any of you who’ve visited the United States have ever, ever received anything other than a warm welcome.  There is a real genuine affection for New Zealand in the United States.

    My only hope is that there’s a significant affection for the United States here.  

    But we don’t always agree.  But what we do is we share the same basic values of promoting freedom, equality, and opportunity.  

    And it’s that kinship of spirit that drives our nations’ desire – and capacity – to work together to make the world a better place.  And presumptuous of me to say but I think that’s exactly what we’re doing together. 

    From scientific research we conduct together in the Antarctic, to our shared efforts to protect the Ross Sea.  From our commitment to promoting democracy and good governance around the world, to our shared efforts to end the scourge of violence against women, our nations accomplish more because we’re moving together.  It matters.  The whole is bigger than the sum of the parts when we cooperate, Mr. Prime Minister. 

    And on this trip I traveled first to Hawaii, and I joined a trilateral meeting with our Japanese and South Korean allies and observed our ongoing Rim of the Pacific exercises; to Australia after that where I discussed everything from security cooperation around the world to our shared fight to end cancer as we know it.  And we signed three memorandums of understanding on cancer cooperation and the Moonshot that the President is initiating at home; and to New Zealand where the Prime Minister and I have once reaffirmed our commitment to expanding this relationship between our two nations.  

    It’s been from our perspective an outstanding trip.  And at every stop I have framed to our closest partners in the region the incredible importance that the United States places in the Asia Pacific.  We are a Pacific nation.  The United States is a Pacific nation.  We are not going anywhere.  We are here to stay.  And we will continue to work closely with all of our friends throughout the region because there’s such overwhelming potential from China to New Zealand, from India to Japan.  There’s such enormous potential in this region.

    It’s been a productive visit, an important opportunity to celebrate what unites all of our people.  And I believe that our nations are only going to grow closer as we continue to work together in the 21st century.  

    I said to the Prime Minister and his colleagues as we met, this is the hundredth anniversary of William Butler Yeats’ poem Easter Sunday 1916, which commemorates the First Rising in the 20th century in Ireland.  And there’s a line in Yeats’ poem that he used to describe his Ireland at the moment, but I think better describes the world as we greet it today and why it’s so important we stand shoulder-to-shoulder.

    He said, “All’s changed, changed utterly.  A terrible beauty has been born.”  

    The world has significantly changed in the last 15 years.  We have a chance.  And great moments of change, which have only occurred in the last century and a half on three occasions, when it occurs, we have a chance to mold the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years if we’re smart, if we work hard, if we, in fact, act with likeminded nations who share the same values of democracy, openness, working together.  

    And so, Mr. President – excuse me, I just demoted you.  Mr. Prime Minister, thank you –

    PRIME MINISTER KEY:  You might have promoted me – the country. 

    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Thank you, thank you so much for the hospitality.  And may God bless our countries and may Got protect our troops.  Thank you so very, very much.

    Q    Mr. Vice President, will you take a couple of questions?

    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Apparently that’s not on the agenda, but why don’t you shout something on your way out.  

    Q  (Inaudible)?

    THE VICE PRESIDENT:  I do.  I think in the lame duck session we have a real chance for that happening.  The lame duck means after this general election takes place in November and before the Congress adjourns.  I’m hopeful.  Thank you.

  • 21 Jul 2016 1:20 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Prime Minister John Key says the United States has accepted an invitation to send a ship to attend the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary later this year.

    “Vice-President Joe Biden confirmed in our discussions today that the US has accepted the invitation and intends to have a ship represent the US Navy at this event,” Mr Key says.

    “We are naturally pleased the US is taking up the invitation. It is a further demonstration of the strength of our close relationship, our friendship and our shared values.

    “There is a long-standing process for considering ship visits under our nuclear free legislation. I will receive advice in due course to assist me in making a decision.

    “There is no specific time frame for this process but it is likely to be a number of weeks before the advice is prepared and the Government is in a position to make any further announcement.”

  • 18 Jul 2016 6:25 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    AUCKLAND, 18 July, 2016– The American Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand has today announced the finalists for the 2016 AmCham-DHL Express Success and Innovation Awards, held in conjunction with Hawaiian Airlines, the 17th year of these awards celebrating success and innovation for companies doing business with the USA.

    Mike Hearn, Executive Director for AmCham, says 2016 has seen another very strong group of entries, covering a diverse range of products and services. While technology companies are again to the forefront of finalists there are some strong entries from pharmaceuticals, wine, building products, cars, food & beverage and engineered products.  

    “Exports to the USA increased for the 6th consecutive year and we are also seeing big growth in the services sector with the USA. The US accounts for 11.6% per cent of New Zealand’s total earnings from overseas trade.” says Mr Hearn.

    Commenting on the finalists, Mark Foy, DHL Express Country Manager New Zealand, said: “The USA offers fantastic opportunities for local businesses and we’re seeing ongoing volume growth from both importers and exporters. The high caliber of the 2016 finalists highlights that Kiwi ingenuity is thriving. Innovative businesses are tapping into increased online connectedness and are reaping the benefits of trading with the USA.”

    The finalists are:

    Importer of the Year

    • -         Ford NZ & the All New Mustang
    • -         Protempo Ltd
    • -         SOS Hydration Ltd

    Investor of the Year to or from the USA

    • -         Baxter Healthcare
    • -         Proliant Biologicals
    • -         Trimble Navigation New Zealand Ltd

    Exporter of the Year to the USA under $1 million

    • -         Autogrow Systems Ltd
    • -         Heilala Vanilla
    • -         Packaworld International Ltd
    • -         Raygun Ltd

    Exporter of the Year to the USA $1 million to $10 million

    • -         Aranz Medical
    • -         Cuddon Ltd – Cuddon Freeze Dry division
    • -         Export X
    • -         Giesen Wines
    • -      Howick Limited
    • -         James Dunlop Textiles Ltd
    • -         PowerbyProxi Ltd

    Exporter of the Year to the USA over $10 million

    • -         Douglas Pharmaceuticals Ltd
    • -         Constellation Brands
    • -         Gallagher Group
    • -         Protempo
    • -         Pushpay
    • -         Wherescape Software
    • -         Whitehaven Wine Company Ltd

    Eric & Kathy Hertz Award for Citizen Diplomacy

    • -         Bodeker Scientific
    • -         Kaila Colbin
    • -         Young Enterprise Trust

    One of the above will be chosen as the Supreme winner. 

    One other award will be presented on the night:  The AmCham Supporter of the Year

    The awards will be presented at a black tie gala dinner at the Pullman Hotel Auckland on 18th August. For details and tickets see

    In addition to AmCham, DHL Express and Hawaiian Airlines, the awards are supported by 3M New Zealand, Baldwins, Fonterra Co-operative, Prescient Marketing & Communications, The Pullman Hotel and media sponsor The Business.

    Previous winners of the Supreme Award have included Zespri International, Peace Software, Airways Corporation, HumanWare, Tenon, Orion Health, Zeacom, SMI Group, Fonterra and Pratt & Whitney Air New Zealand Services t/a Christchurch Engine Centre, Buckley Systems, Greenshell New Zealand, Vista Entertainment and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare.

  • 13 Jul 2016 12:00 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Prime Minister John Key has welcomed the announcement that United States Vice President Joe Biden will make an official visit to New Zealand next week.

    “New Zealand places great value on its relationship with the United States and the Vice President’s visit is an opportunity to discuss key regional and international issues,” Mr Key says.

    “Vice President Biden’s visit will allow us to discuss ways we can work closer together on issues like economic and trade ties, as well as international peace and security matters.”

    Vice President Biden and his delegation arrive in New Zealand on Wednesday 20 July for a series of official engagements on Thursday 21 July.


  • 01 Jul 2016 9:36 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Houston-based Noel Group Inc. today announced the opening of its Houston Launch Pad (

    The Launch Pad is a Noel Group initiative
    designed to assist businesses to quickly establish a beachhead in the Houston market, and as a gateway to Texas and the US. Located just 10 minutes from the airport and on the 20th floor of the iconic Greenspoint Four building in a campus-like setting that includes a Hilton hotel, fully-serviced conference center, a dozen restaurants and a state-of-the-art fitness center, the Launch Pad is the ideal place to do business while enjoying the benefits of an all-in-one facility. A comprehensive range of support services are available via Noel Group on flexible terms, including:

    • ·        Office space, facilities & ICT infrastructure
    • ·        Business development & marketing
    • ·        Private equity investment
    • ·        Accounting, insurance & legal
    • ·        Travel, housing & relocation

    Noel Group CEO, Stacey Horne, believes that a key benefit the Launch Pad can offer is the ability to establish quickly in familiar company and gain market access and visibility via existing relationships built over many years. “Our team has been working with international companies, particularly New Zealand, for more than a decade and knows how to build relationships across cultures. We offer a full range of services for those who want to move into the US market. Houston is a thriving city that offers a friendly, yet cosmopolitan business environment with a can do attitude that transcends geography.

    Noel’s SVP, Hamish Clark, agrees that the Launch Pad provides the ideal bridge for both sides of the Pacific. “We ‘kiwis’ share many of the same values as our Texan neighbours, including our pioneering spirit and passion for innovative thinking. Our key challenges are distance and a comparatively tiny domestic market. The Launch Pad was designed with these challenges in mind and to make ‘the leap’ as painless as possible. A trusted and committed in-market presence with deep roots is a big plus for any New Zealand company, and in order to ‘plug in’ to the US value chain with minimum burn and maximum leverage. The combination of transpacific fibre and direct flights from Houston-Auckland also make short work of distance.”

    One of the Launch Pad’s early benefactors is New Zealand’s largest privately-owned paint manufacturer, Resene Paints. The company has entered into a joint venture with Noel Group to develop and market an innovative surface coating with exceptional rejection properties. It is also a significant contributor to Noel Group’s private equity fund. Resene’s CEO, Nick Nightingale, is excited by the initiative and agrees that local knowledge is invaluable for international companies entering the US. “We at Resene Paints congratulate the Noel Group on the launch of this terrific initiative. We think that it is a great idea to smooth the path of companies trying to start up in the USA; dealing with all of the little 'roadblocks' that can occur whilst trying to get established in a different jurisdiction. It is this sort of innovative thinking that makes us proud of our association with the Noel Group and, of course, anything which helps to spread 'Brand Kiwi' gets our especial backing. Noel Group has in-depth understanding of NZ business environment so can readily translate that into the US market. Resene is already using Noel Group's local knowledge and networks to identify potential sales relationships and JV opportunities in Texas/USA.”

    Noel Group is also a proud member of AmCham New Zealand. Executive Director, Mike Hearn, is a Launch Pad advocate and had this to say about how the initiative could benefit its membership. “AmCham New Zealand congratulates the Noel Group on the launch of this important beachhead which will greatly assist our members and other companies doing business in the region. Having access to Noel Group’s expertise will be an invaluable asset and I look forward to deepening our already strong relationship with the Group.”

    Houston-based Noel Group Inc. is a ‘smart capital’ private equity firm investing in proven entrepreneurs with scalable technology and core IP.

    The Houston Launch Pad is a Noel Group initiative designed to assist businesses to quickly establish a beachhead in the Houston market, and as a gateway to Texas and the US.


    Stacey Horne, CEO