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Future of British High Commission in NZ questioned


Simon Power National Associate Foreign Affairs Spokesman

1 April 2004

Future of British High Commission in NZ questioned

Labour must act quickly to ensure the British High Commission in New Zealand is not reduced in size or closed, says National's Associate Foreign Affairs spokesman, Simon Power.

A report in British newspaper The Telegraph says New Zealand is thought to be on a list of British diplomatic posts whose futures are being reviewed. Other countries thought to be on the list are Iceland and Mauritius.

"Phil Goff has recently been in Britain and I hope he used the opportunity to stress New Zealand's case for keeping the High Commission fully operational," says Mr Power.

"It would be a major blow to our strategic, trade, and tourism sectors not to have the strong presence of a British High Commissioner here, and I sincerely hope it won't come to that.

"Britain has always been a strong influence in New Zealand. It is our 6th biggest trading partner and our 3rd biggest tourist market after Australia and Asia.

"The relationship with Britain is critical to our economy, and the Government must act to make sure we don't lose further ties with one of our closest allies.

"The Government needs to reassure the public that the British High Commission and its representatives in New Zealand are here to stay", says Mr Power.

Ends


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