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Survey Findings On Attitudes To Asia Welcome

22 April 2002

New Zealanders are increasingly recognising the importance of Asia, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton welcomed the findings of the latest Asia 2000 Foundation survey which indicated that New Zealanders were positive about the impact of Asia on their lives. The research is the fifth study in a series done for Asia 2000 since 1997.

The foundation's executive director Christopher Butler said that over the past five years the research shows a definite upward trend in all areas covered.

New Zealanders regard Asia as the most important region to the country's future and have increasingly favourable views of Asian trade, tourism and students. Views on Asian investment are also more positive than in previous surveys. Mr Sutton said he was delighted by the survey's findings.

"Personally, I believe the future of our country is interlinked with that of Asia, particularly North Asia.

"Asian countries last year accounted for 37 percent of exports and 32 percent of imports. Eighty percent of the 50,000 international students now studying in New Zealand and generating overall revenues estimated at around $1 billion come from Asia. Some $4 billion of Asian investment underpins the industrial sector, particularly forest industries, fisheries, real estate, tourism and regional areas of New Zealand. "

Mr Sutton said there was more to New Zealand's relationship with Asia than purely economic and trade related.

"I am pleased that more and more New Zealanders are developing a broad interest in the people and cultures of Asia."

More New Zealanders are interested in Asian art and culture and in travelling to Asia than five years ago. One third of New Zealanders claim a reasonable or high level of involvement with Asian people and cultures.

Ends

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