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High-level US science Congressional delegation

High-level US science Congressional delegation visits

Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff has welcomed to Christchurch the Congressional Delegation lead by the Chairman of the Science Committee Representative Sherwood Boehlert. The delegation comprises seven congressmen, spouses and staffers.

The Minister held a meeting with the congressmen and hosted a dinner for the delegation on 13 January.

“Our bilateral relationship with the United States is important and successful and I am very pleased that the Congressmen have taken time out from their responsibilities in Washington to travel to our country.

“Congress plays an independent and energetic role in contributing to the US policy agenda and I enjoyed the opportunity of discussing with the Congressmen our views on international and bilateral issues of mutual interest, including a free-trade agreement.

“The Science Committee of the US House of Representative has jurisdiction over science and technology legislation, also energy, environmental and marine research, technology and research, space and aeronautics.

“The central focus of the congressional delegation’s visit was on science issues, particularly in relation to the Antarctic programme.

“New Zealand and the United States enjoy dynamic and rapidly developing science and technology links.

“Our Antarctic relationship is a longstanding and enduring one based on mutual interest. It is currently in excellent shape. We signed a Bilateral Agreement on Antarctica in 1958 and there has been a long history of very successful scientific and environmental collaborations between the US and New Zealand since then, particularly on Antarctic environmental initiatives.

“The establishment of the NZ/US Climate Change Partnership in October 2002 has the objective of enhancing the bilateral dialogue and practical science based climate change cooperation,” Mr Goff said.

The meeting and dinner were also a good opportunity for New Zealand science and technology officials to meet members of the committee with oversight over science and technology legislation in Congress, and discuss the NZ/US Climate Change Partnership and broadening the science and technology linkages.

The delegation departs New Zealand for Antarctica today.

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