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New High Commissioner to South Africa

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

5 November 2002

New High Commissioner to South Africa

New Zealand’s next High Commissioner to South Africa will be career diplomat Warren Searell, Foreign Minister Phil Goff announced today.

“New Zealand and South Africa enjoy an excellent political relationship. We work closely together in a wide range of international organisations. Our ties now range from trade and tourism, agriculture, disarmament through to traditional sporting links.

“The position Mr Searell will take up in Pretoria is of increasing importance to New Zealand. This reflects the fact that South Africa is now a prominent and influential member of many international organisations such as the Commonwealth, the G-77 and the Non-Aligned Movement.

“Within Africa, South Africa continues to play a leading role. President Mbeki had been elected the first President of the newly formed African Union. He was a chief architect in creating NEPAD, the New Partnership for African Development. Both organisations offer Africa a positive vision for the region’s future.

“South Africa had become New Zealand’s largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa. Since 1990 bilateral trade had increased nine-fold to a combined total of $NZ264 million. There are now some 40,000 South Africans resident in New Zealand, some of whom are actively looking to generate business activities with their former home. There is potential for South Africa to become a significant trading partner,” Mr Goff said.

Mr Searell’s previous postings were Suva, Manila and Niue. He will take up his posting in March, and will be accredited to ten other African countries. He replaces Rene Wilson, who is returning to Wellington.


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