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PM to visit London and Stockholm

20 February 2002 Media Statement

PM to visit London and Stockholm

Prime Minister Helen Clark leaves this evening for Stockholm to attend the Progressive Governance Summit. The meeting was originally scheduled for September last year but, along with many other international meetings including CHOGM, was postponed after the terrorist attacks on the United States.

“Other leaders invited by Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson include British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, South African President Thabo Mbeki, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, and Chilean President Ricardo Lagos.

“The leaders invited represent some of the most important countries in Europe, South America and Africa. Maintaining close relations with them ensures that they have a better understanding of New Zealand’s views and priorities. In 2000 the group met in Berlin in June and at the United Nations Millennium Summit in September.”

Helen Clark said the meeting would focus on economic and social challenges faced by all governments and on pressing international issues.

“The leaders in this group seek to balance market economies with social justice and inclusion. Strong emphasis is placed in the draft communiqué on economic discipline, economic growth, employment, education, and innovation. The New Zealand Government’s growth and innovation framework sits well alongside the approach of the Progressive Governance group.

“The group will discuss the agendas for this year’s major international conferences on Financing for Development in Mexico and Sustainable Development in South Africa; plans for ratification and implementation of the Kyoto Protocol; and the World Trade Organisation’s new trade round launched at Doha. In the post 11 September environment, the leaders believe there has to be a stronger campaign against global inequalities, and that more trade access, faster and deeper debt relief, and more effective development assistance for poorer nations is essential. There will also be discussion on the special economic and health challenges of Africa.”

Helen Clark said that in Stockholm on Friday she would be meeting with senior Swedish businesspeople and briefing them about new developments and opportunities in the New Zealand economy.

In London on Thursday afternoon, Helen Clark will be hosted at a lunch at the London School of Economics by its Director, Sir Anthony Giddens, and give a guest lecture on developments in New Zealand.

The Prime Minister returns to New Zealand for next Monday’s Cabinet meeting and for the Queen’s official programme in New Zealand.


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