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  • 18 Apr 2017 6:53 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Foreign Minister Murray McCully will travel to Hawaii today to meet with senior figures in the United States Pacific Command. Mr McCully will also meet with members of Hawaii’s political leadership, senior academics and opinion makers.

    “The US Pacific Command is responsible for US military operations in over half the world’s surface,” Mr McCully says.

    “Honolulu is a pivotal channel for New Zealand’s views on Asia-Pacific into Washington, D.C. and my visit is an opportunity to emphasise the value of New Zealand-US cooperation in the Asia Pacific.”

    Mr McCully will also inaugurate the New Zealand Consulate-General in Honolulu, which was opened in 2014.

    “New Zealand’s presence in Honolulu has deepened our connections with US military leaders and is a gateway for our engagement with North Pacific countries.”

    Other areas of cooperation with the US in Honolulu include climate change, fisheries, humanitarian aid and disaster risk management.

  • 12 Mar 2017 3:33 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    The new Trade Agenda reinforces the Administration’s commitment to defend American interests through the promotion of truly free and fair trade.

    Washington, D.C. – Today, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative ("USTR") released President Trump's 2017 Trade Policy Agenda, as required by Congress.

    The 2017 Agenda outlines the new Administration’s four trade priorities: promoting U.S. sovereignty, enforcing U.S. trade laws, leveraging American economic strength to expand our goods and services exports, and protecting U.S. intellectual property rights.

    USTR leads development and implementation of the President’s Trade Policy Agenda, which it provides with the Annual Report on trade developments. To read both, please click here.

  • 18 Jan 2017 9:53 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Good evening ladies & gentlemen.  Welcome to this special farewell reception and a Happy New Year to you all.  My name is Derek Syme and I am the president of AmCham in New Zealand.

    Firstly, I would like to welcome our guests of honour Ambassador Mark Gilbert and Nancy Gilbert.

    I would also like to extend a very warm welcome to our other VIPs here tonight

    • -        His Worship the Mayor, Phil Goff
    • -        Deputy Mayor, Bill Cashmore
    • -        US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Candy Green
    • -        US Consul, Melanie Higgins
    • -        Other diplomatic corps members
    • -        Sir Bob Harvey and Dame Wendy Pye

    I would like to thank EY for allowing us to use their facilities for this evening’s farewell reception for US Ambassador Mark Gilbert and Nancy Gilbert.

    Thank you also to Mike Smith and IBM for your sponsorship of the evening.

    Well it has been a whirlwind 2 years since Ambassador Gilbert & Nancy arrived in NZ.  Without scarcely a pause, they have undertaken their roles with enthusiasm and focus that is second to none.  The Gilbert’s have crammed in so much that it is hard to know where to begin when talking about their great achievements.

    There have been several significant highlights during the Ambassador’s tenure over the last 2 years and I will touch on just a few…:

    • 1)    The visit of US Vice President Joe Biden including a highly successful reception, where the Vice President spoke and met a number of our members. – The night was a real highlight for me as I managed to get a great selfie with the Vice President!
    • 2)    The arrival of the USS Sampson, the first US warship to visit NZ for over 30 years and its key role in assisting with the Kaikoura earthquake, in a time of real need.
    • 3)    The visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to NZ and his trip with the Ambassador to Antarctica.
    • 4)    The signing of TPP in Auckland by USTR Ambassador Michael Froman.  Ambassador Gilbert played a significant role in securing Ambassador Froman to speak to our members following the signing.
    • 5)    The inaugural Air NZ flight & service to Houston where the Ambassador joined the trade mission with Minister Steven Joyce.
    • 6)    We have also had the arrival of United & American Airlines services from San Francisco & Los Angeles, furthering business and tourism links with the USA.
    • 7)    The Ambassador lead highly successful business delegations from NZ to the Select USA Summits in Washington in 2015 & 2016.
    • 8)    The Ambassador and Nancy joined the AmCham board visit to AmCham in Sydney in 2015.  He also played a significant leadership role in the success of AmCham Australia’s visit to NZ late last year and his participation has ensured stronger ties between the two AmChams. 

    He has worked diligently to reach as much of the New Zealand business community as possible, giving his time to speak to social entrepreneurs and tech start-ups, as well as larger corporations and industry groups.

    Ambassador Gilbert has also worked tirelessly to bring together academia, industry and government in order to better facilitate an exchange of knowledge and skills.  This included the visit to NZ of Dr. Dave Newman (NASA’s Deputy Director) and Ambassador Gilbert is following Rocketlab’s progress with keen interest.

    In summary, the ambassadors’ energy levels are truly remarkable and an 8 hour working day is completely irrelevant.

    But it is not all about Ambassador Gilbert, as Nancy has also played an important and significant role supporting him.

    One of Nancy’s highlights was the Wahine Toa leadership conference which brought together 140 Maori women from across the country.  This group held discussions on civic engagement, women’s empowerment, and networking among communities of Maori women and across the Pacific.

    The Gilberts successfully secured President Obama’s Special Assistant for Native American Affairs, Karen Diver, to keynote at the conference and engage with iwi leaders, civil society organizations, youth groups, and parliamentarians throughout New Zealand.

    Nancy is also a big promoter of the tourism relationship, especially with her expertise as a former business owner of a tour company in Florida.  This shone through when the Embassy hosted the “National Parks” IMAX film.

    The Gilberts have also championed the exceptional growth in NZ wine sales to the USA… (please note that Ambassador Gilbert may have been “personally” responsible for significantly increasing those numbers!)

    But it is not just what you have both done during your time in New Zealand…  it is how you have done it…  And on this front, we think its been all class.

    You have not only achieved a huge amount but you have created many lasting friendships along the way.

    For those of you following the Ambassador and Nancy on Twitter you will have seen many accolades flowing from throughout NZ over the last week which shows how much of a difference they have both made.

    They have even found time to pull together a “YouTube” photo montage of everyone they have met in NZ during their time here.  They are without doubt one of the best tour guides and official photographers in NZ, having taken some amazing pictures of NZ’s best scenery.  Perhaps the NZ Tourism Board should seriously consider a consultant’s role for them both in the future!

    The Ambassador and Nancy have lifted diplomacy to a whole new level and while we wish there were “4 more years”, we have to say farewell for now. You will always be welcome back in NZ and we wish you all the very best for whatever the future holds for you.

    We would like to present you with a small token of our appreciation which reads… “In recognition of the outstanding contribution you have made to the United States/New Zealand relations during your time in New Zealand.  You have been a true friend and supporter of New Zealand and AmCham.”

  • 12 Jan 2017 9:24 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)
    Business Community Optimistic, Realistic, and Ready for Meaningful Reform to Reignite Spirit of American Enterprise

    U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said today in his annual "State of American Business" address that fostering stronger, faster, and more broadly shared economic growth must be the top priority for the nation's leaders. [Link to full text of speech.]

    As he shared the sense of optimism and opportunity felt by the business community at this point of national transition, Donohue urged policymakers to heed the message from America's Main Streets: It's time to reignite the spirit of enterprise through meaningful reform in Washington.

    "At this moment of significant transition for our country, American businesses large and small are optimistic about the year ahead - optimistic and also realistic about the hard work that will be required to make our optimism a reality," said Donohue. "We see a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enact major reforms that could transform the American economy from a low-growth to a high-growth economy.

    "That's how we bring the jobs back. That's how we revitalize hard-hit communities. And that's how we give every citizen the opportunity to pursue the American dream," continued Donohue.

    Donohue used the address to unveil and outline the U.S. Chamber's "American Growth Agenda" for 2017, a set of policy priorities on which the Chamber will focus its efforts in order to expand jobs, incomes, and opportunities for Americans through economic growth.

    The U.S. Chamber's "American Growth Agenda" will serve as the foundation for its advocacy efforts in the coming year, informing the organization's work with the new administration and Congress. As the leading voice for free enterprise in America, and for the sake of fostering growth, the Chamber will fight for regulatory relief and reform; for increasing energy production; for modernizing the nation's infrastructure; for overhauling the tax code; for expanding trade; for educating and training an exceptional workforce; and for fixing our legal system.

    Over the course of 2017, the U.S. Chamber will put its "American Growth Agenda" to the test, gathering local chambers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, employers, and employees for a series of regional summits, which are designed to provide a forum for job creators, risk takers, and those in pursuit of the American dream to talk about what they need to succeed - and for policymakers to listen.

    "We're going to create a powerful grassroots business army, made up of businesses of all sizes from all sectors, and ensure that no one can ignore their voice - not in policy, not in politics, not in government, and not in the public square," said Donohue. "The reforms we seek here in Washington - and which we can achieve if we are patient and realistic - can reignite the spirit of enterprise across the nation. If we do that, there is nothing our country cannot achieve."

    To watch Donohue's 2017 "State of American Business" address, please visit our website.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

  • 03 Nov 2016 5:37 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Minister of Trade Todd McClay has welcomed the second reading of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) Amendment Bill in Parliament today.

    “TPP is our biggest trade deal to date, and presents a huge opportunity for our economy, adding an estimated $2.7 billion a year to New Zealand’s GDP once it has been fully phased in,” says Mr McClay.

    TPP is designed to create a level, transparent, and predictable playing field for trade within the Asia Pacific region. The TPP Amendment Bill includes changes to New Zealand law that will allow New Zealand to ratify the Agreement.

    “TPP sets high standards in many areas. New Zealand is already an open, transparent and trade-friendly country.

    “All primary legislative changes that do need to take place prior to TPP’s entry into force are addressed in the Bill currently before Parliament. The Government’s objective in this process has been to ensure New Zealand complies with its TPP obligations in a manner least disruptive to our current policies and regulations,” says Mr McClay.

    The select committee received 85 written and oral submissions from the public, and 20 of those submissions contained no comment on the drafting of the Bill.

    “The select committee made some important amendments. For example, by making clear that changes to New Zealand law introduced by the TPP Bill will only commence on the date TPP enters into force for New Zealand.”

    The Government expects the Bill to be passed this year. Once the Bill has been passed and other regulatory changes are in place, the Government will be ready to formally ratify the agreement. TPP could come into force by late 2017 or early 2018, once countries have completed their own processes for ratifying TPP.

    For more information on the TPP Amendment Bill and the legislative changes that are being proposed, please refer to the Second Reading speech delivered earlier today before Parliament

  • 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.”