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Wood Next NZ Ambassador To Washington

John Wood will be New Zealand's next Ambassador to Washington, Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff announced today. Mr Wood served previously as Ambassador to Washington from 1994-1998.

"John Wood is one of our most experienced and senior diplomats. I am delighted that he has agreed to serve as Ambassador in Washington for a second term.

"The United States remains the dominant figure in world affairs, as the central player on many issues of international policy, including regional and global security, trade, environment, development, disarmament, and human rights.

"New Zealand and the United States have a well developed and mature relationship based on many shared interests. It is important that we co-operate closely on a wide range of multilateral matters.

"The bilateral relationship is vital to New Zealand. The United States is our second largest trading partner after Australia, and we work closely with the US on regional and multilateral economic issues," Mr Goff said.

Born in Kaikoura and educated at Canterbury and Oxford universities, Mr Wood is currently the Deputy Secretary for Economic and Trade Relations within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

He has previously served in Washington on two postings. He has also served in Tokyo, Bonn, Tehran, and was seconded to the Prime Minister's Department as International Adviser to Prime Minister Muldoon.

"Mr Wood's extensive experience in trade and economic work means he is uniquely qualified to represent New Zealand's interests in the United States, as we continue to discuss opportunities for trade liberalisation.

"His previous postings in Washington mean he already has an extensive network of high-level contacts on which to build," said Mr Goff.

Mr Wood will be accompanied by his wife Rosie. Mr Wood replaces New Zealand's current Ambassador, former Prime Minister Jim Bolger, and is expected to take up his appointment in January 2002.

ENDS

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