Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee has denounced the further testing of a ballistic missile by North Korea.
“I’m deeply concerned that North Korea continues to flout its obligations to the international community by testing these missiles – it’s completely unacceptable,” Mr Brownlee says.
“New Zealand would encourage North Korea to look at the plight of its people, who are living in less than advantaged circumstances, while the regime spends millions of dollars on its weaponisation programme.
“I spoke to my South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, by phone earlier this week and we discussed the North Korean threat.
“The prosperity of South Korea is well known and similar opportunities would exist for North Koreans if not for its leader’s determination to develop and test these very expensive weapons,” Mr Brownlee says.
Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee will today arrive in Indonesia to attend a meeting on foreign terrorist fighters and cross-border terrorism.
The sub-regional meeting – co-hosted by Indonesia and Australia in Manado, Indonesia – will ensure New Zealand is well informed about the threat cross-border terrorism and foreign terrorists pose to parts of South East Asia.
Mr Brownlee will also meet with his Indonesian counterpart, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.
“The significant gains made by the coalition against ISIS in Iraq and Syria do not mean we can be any less vigilant about the potential threat terrorism poses, including in our own backyard,” Mr Brownlee says.
“The ongoing instability in the southern Philippines is an example of that. ISIS has long held the goal of extending its so-called Caliphate into the Asia-Pacific region.
“New Zealand is a key regional player and has a long history of building capacity and cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
“Our counter-terrorism contributions are deeply valued by our partners and, now as much as ever, we need to be vigilant against the threat terrorism poses to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific,” Mr Brownlee says.
Viet Nam’s Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue will arrive in New Zealand today for talks with ministers, Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced.
“Viet Nam is one of our most important partners in South East Asia,” Mr Brownlee says.
“Trade has grown 150 per cent since 2009 and continues to rise. We are seeing strong growth in student numbers too.
“We are now working towards an ambitious $2.3 billion target for two-way trade by 2020 – that’s compared with a little less than $1.3 billion now.
“Viet Nam is part of the fastest-growing economic region in the world – Asia Pacific – and is this year hosting APEC, the leading economic forum in the region.
“New Zealand and Viet Nam are parties to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and this visit represents an opportunity to further conversations on its progression.
“Viet Nam is also part of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, alongside New Zealand, Australia and 14 other Asian countries.
“Tourist flows in both directions are also on the rise, aided by the launch of Air New Zealand seasonal direct flights last year,” Mr Brownlee says.
During his visit, Deputy Prime Minister Hue will meet with his counterpart Paula Bennett, as well as with Finance Minister Steven Joyce, Trade Minister Todd McClay and Mr Brownlee.
Deputy Prime Minister Hue is responsible for economic and financial issues, including free trade agreements.
Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee says New Zealand’s renewable energy expertise are in demand worldwide as our Development Programme continues to help Pacific Island nations achieve renewable energy targets.
Mr Brownlee has welcomed the signing of a Partnership Arrangement between New Zealand and the African Union Commission to establish the New Zealand – Africa Geothermal Facility.
The facility – managed by the New Zealand Development Programme – will provide about $10 million over the next five years to enhance geothermal development in 11 East African countries.
“The agreement will allow New Zealand to share its expertise in this sector by delivering targeted technical help, advice, development and training,” Mr Brownlee says.
“In Indonesia, New Zealand is partnering with government agencies to provide further technical assistance and capacity building to establish a government geothermal exploration programme and support prioritising and allocating geothermal areas for development.
“Since 2014, New Zealand has funded a regional geothermal advisor to support advancing geothermal development plans for five Eastern Caribbean countries, including with the Commonwealth of Dominica.
“Under our partnership with the Commonwealth of Dominica, a New Zealand project manager has recently been appointed to the Dominica Geothermal Development Company to manage construction of a 7 megawatt geothermal power plant.
“The project, which is 100 per cent government-owned, is due for completion in mid-2019 and will be the Caribbean’s first geothermal power plant.
“These projects are building on our domestic expertise in developing geothermal resource and generation and the leadership we’ve shown finding clean energy solutions in the Pacific.
“Our programme’s energy portfolio includes more than 40 activities with expenditure of $126 million from 2015 to 2018.
“About 82 per cent of our energy spend from 2015 to 2018 will be spent in the Pacific.
“Pacific Island nations have ambitious targets for renewable electricity generation, with most in Polynesia close to 50 per cent. Despite this, access to modern energy services in Melanesia remains among the lowest rates in the world.
“New Zealand has invested more than $120 million in the Pacific energy sector since 2013 and we’re proud to help support the Pacific in this area.
“Climate change is already changing lives and livelihoods across the Pacific.
“I believe it’s essential that New Zealand development funding can add to the resilience of these countries and help boost our Pacific neighbours’ renewable energy generation,” Mr Brownlee says.
The United Kingdom and New Zealand have a long-standing, deep and close relationship.
It is founded on shared history, stemming from a Treaty relationship between Māori and the British Crown, our experiences in supporting each other in peace and war, and on extensive family links.
Our two countries enjoy and promote shared values – open, liberal markets, peace and security, human rights, democracy and respect for international norms. Our armed forces serve in Afghanistan, Iraq and South Sudan.
As island nations, we are both strong advocates for free trade, are important trading partners and have committed to laying the foundations for a UK-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement once the UK leaves the EU. We both love sport.
We now want to redouble efforts to broaden and deepen our friendship.
We are delighted to announce the launch of a People-to-People Dialogue, complementing the work of the UK-New Zealand Strategic Dialogue and the Trade Policy Dialogue.
This will enable us to identify opportunities to strengthen existing links, create new ones and broaden cooperation between our two governments across a range of policy issues.
The latter will include collaboration on our shared interests in social investment and a data-driven approach to support policy development, an intent cemented by the exchange of letters between our two Prime Ministers today.
The dialogue will also allow both governments to consider issues around two-way people flows, including secondments, exchanges, immigration and visas.
Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee has welcomed further engagement between New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
“The establishment of a people-to-people dialogue has been announced during Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s visit to New Zealand,” Mr Brownlee says.
“New Zealand and the United Kingdom enjoy a broad and enduring partnership. At its foundation are the connections between the people of our two countries.
“The Foreign Secretary and I agreed that enhancing those connections will help support a stronger political and economic relationship between New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
“The dialogue will provide a forum for discussing a wide range of issues of mutual interest, including how we might improve the opportunities that exist for our citizens to live and work in each other’s countries.
“The relationship New Zealand shares with the United Kingdom is an important one. The UK is our fifth largest trading partner and one of our closest international security partners.
“As the United Kingdom looks to reshape its relationships around the world following its decision to leave the European Union, we see enhanced engagement as an opportunity to further strengthen the friendship the UK and New Zealand have enjoyed for so long,” Mr Brownlee says.
The people-to-people dialogue will be convened at officials’ level at six monthly intervals. It will complement the existing trade policy dialogue, and strategic dialogue on foreign policy.
Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee says he’s concerned that Japan is driving towards overturning the long-standing global moratorium on commercial whaling.
“New Zealand is extremely disappointed that Japan has passed new legislation that commits to subsidising its whaling fleet,” Mr Brownlee says.
“Attempts to artificially increase consumer demand for whale meat are a step backwards for the conservation of whales.
“New Zealand will continue to reinforce our support for the moratorium on commercial whaling, which has been in place for over 30 years.
“The recent departure of Japan’s whaling fleet to the western North Pacific once again goes against the recommendations of the International Whaling Commission, its Scientific Committee and its expert panels.
“Japan is persistently failing to justify the need to kill whales in the name of research, in both the North Pacific and the Southern Ocean.
“Japan’s actions risk seriously undermining cooperation within the International Whaling Commission, which New Zealand continues to support as the forum to manage these issues,” Mr Brownlee says.
The International Whaling Commission was established in the 1940s as the body responsible for the conservation and management of whales.
Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced diplomat Jonathan Schwass as High Commissioner to Vanuatu.
“New Zealand and Vanuatu have close and long-standing ties,” Mr Brownlee says.
“In the last year, more than 4,000 Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from Vanuatu were in New Zealand – representing about 40 per cent of the total workers in the scheme.
“The RSE scheme has been an enormous success over the last decade and, at an estimated $20 million a year for those 4,000 workers, the earnings have a significant effect on livelihoods in Vanuatu.
“Mr Schwass will lead the delivery of New Zealand’s Official Development Programme in Vanuatu, helping to oversee $82 million of investment over three years with a focus on tourism, agriculture, renewable energy and education,” Mr Brownlee says.
Mr Schwass is currently Unit Manager of the South East Asia Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was previously Ambassador to Timor-Leste.
A new sporting partnership will promote healthy lifestyles and encourage teenagers in the Pacific to take part in sport, Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee says.
The Pacific Sporting Partnership – Sports for Health Rugby programme kicked off yesterday at the Pacific Nations Cup test match between Samoa and Fiji.
“New Zealand and the Pacific Islands share a proud sporting tradition and it is great to use this to help promote healthy lifestyles in the Pacific,” Mr Brownlee says.
“The Sports for Health programme is about ensuring children learn about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle from a young age, while also gaining skills like team work and fair play.
“New Zealand is providing $4 million over five years for the rugby component, which will be delivered in partnership with New Zealand Rugby. In Samoa, the initiative will be delivered through villages and schools.
“It will introduce children in the Pacific to a fast, non-contact version of rugby known as ‘Quick Rip’, which is already popular in New Zealand. It requires no conversions, meaning there’s no need for goal posts or formal playing fields.
“A healthy lifestyles awareness campaign will run alongside regular coaching sessions and games for 14 to 18-year-old boys and girls.
“At the end of the nine-week programme, the teams will take part in a Quick Rip tournament to celebrate their participation,” Mr Brownlee says.
Samoa is the first country where New Zealand Rugby is rolling out the programme, working with their Samoan counterparts. Planning for the rollout of the programme in Fiji, the Cook Islands, and Tonga is under way.
Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee has confirmed that United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will visit New Zealand from 23-25 July.
“New Zealand and the United Kingdom enjoy a close and enduring friendship,” Mr Brownlee says.
“We share extensive defence and security links as well as significant business and investment ties.
“We also have a common interest in a range of international peace and security matters.
“We welcome Secretary Johnson’s visit as an opportunity to strengthen our close relationship at a time when the United Kingdom is seeking to reshape its relationships around the world following its decision to leave the European Union,” Mr Brownlee says.
While in New Zealand, Secretary Johnson will meet with Prime Minister Bill English and senior ministers, the Leader of the Opposition and participate in a ceremony to dedicate the United Kingdom memorial at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.