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Wong excited about growing 'Asian Relationships'


Wong excited about growing 'Asian Relationships'

National's first spokesperson for Asian Relationships Pansy Wong says she is keen to promote the growing importance of New Zealand's external relations with Asia.

"In the past 40 years, the percentage of our trade with Asian economies has increased from 11% to over 35%. In 1970 Japan was the only Asian economy to feature in our top-10 list of trading economies. Today Japan is joined by the Republic of Korea, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong on that list.

"New Zealand has gained a reputation as a young country that punches above its weight and conducts its business in a frank and engaging manner; the respect that Asian countries have for this was evident when Chinese President Hu visited New Zealand last month.

"We must move to cultivate and build on these relationships by breaking down barriers to greater understanding and access for young New Zealanders, especially the younger generations, to a region that will be of immense significance.

"The Labour Government's lack of robust monitoring and follow-up actions in the export education sector, demonstrates the lack of understanding and commitment to enhancing these important relationships.

"My first priority is to meet with Asian communities in the major centres to enhance our existing strong relationships, and begin dialogue on implementing a strategy that will allow them to realise their potential.

"Nearly six and a half percent of New Zealanders (6.4%) are of Asian origin. The networks, skills and attitudes of this significant proportion of the population need to be cultivated and utilised to play an important role in assisting New Zealand to foster and strengthen ties with Asia," Pansy Wong said.

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