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Parl Delegation to visit China Japan Hong Kong

Parliamentary Delegation to visit China, Japan and Hong Kong

The Speaker, Rt Hon Jonathan Hunt, will lead a multi party delegation of parliamentarians to China, Japan and Hong Kong during the recess of Parliament this month.

The delegation comprises Mr Hunt, and four MPs from different parties: Mr Doug Woolerton, (New Zealand First); Dr Lynda Scott (National); Dr Muriel Newman (ACT); and Ms Lynne Pillay (Labour).

It aims to advance New Zealand interests in the region and to strengthen our important and wide-ranging relations with China and Japan by cementing parliamentary contacts. The delegation will meet with members of the new Chinese leadership who were appointed earlier in the year and senior members of the Japanese government.

China and Hong Kong SAR

New Zealand has a strong and growing bilateral relationship with China built on steadily developing trade and economic flows, regular high-level political dialogue and rapidly expanding people-to-people contacts. China is New Zealand’s fourth largest trading partner overall and our fourth largest market for exports. Last year New Zealand received 76,500 short-term visitors from China - up a massive 44% from 2001 - making China our fastest growing tourism market. China is also our largest source of foreign students with over 30,000 studying here last year.

The visit provides the opportunity to meet with some of the “fourth generation” of Chinese leaders who were elected by the Chinese legislature (the National People’s Congress) earlier in the year. The new Chairman of the National People’s Congress, Wu Bangguo, will host the delegation during the China leg of the visit.

A New Zealand Speaker last visited China in April 1994.


The delegation will meet with Chinese parliamentarians and senior officials to discuss political, social and economic developments in China, including opportunities created by China’s hosting of the 2008 Olympic Games. The Three Gorges Dam Project will be inspected on the way to Shanghai - China’s economic hub. The delegation will tour New Zealand enterprises there and explore ways of enhancing access for New Zealand exporters.

During a brief stop-over in Hong Kong SAR the delegation will meet with counterparts from the Legislative Council.

Japan

New Zealand enjoys a well established and wide ranging relationship with Japan. Japan is New Zealand’s third largest trading partner, with two-way merchandise trade totalling over $7.4 million. Trade in services, particularly tourism and education, also provides a major contribution to bilateral relations. Strong ties at the political level are reflected by regular high level visits in both directions. Japan and New Zealand share mutual interests in a wide range of economic, security and political issues. Extensive people-to-people linkages, including 41 sister city relationships, further underscore the ties between New Zealand and Japan.

The President of Japan’s Upper House, the House of Councillors, Mr Hiroyuki Kurata, will host the delegation during their time in Japan. The visit provides the opportunity for the delegation to meet with their Japanese counterparts, and observe Japan’s parliamentary system, including calls on Ministers and parliamentary committees. Mr Speaker will also have an audience with His Majesty the Emperor.

The delegation will also travel to Hiroshima and visit that city’s Peace Park, as well as visit the ancient Japanese capital of Kyoto – a key focal point in the Kansai region, which has strong cultural and economic links with New Zealand.

The last visit to Japan by a New Zealand Speaker was in April 1994. The Deputy Speaker of Japan’s Lower House visited Wellington in August this year.

The Japanese and Chinese Governments will meet the expenses of the delegation, as guests of government, throughout the visit.

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