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Consular agreement to support NZ-China links

Hon Phil Goff Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

7 December 2004

Consular agreement to support NZ-China links

A consular agreement to be tabled in Parliament today will support the rapidly growing links between New Zealand and China, says Foreign Minister Phil Goff.

“The agreement comes at a time when the number of people travelling between the two countries is increasing dramatically. Last year more than 100,000 Chinese citizens travelled to New Zealand for tourism, business and study purposes while about 50,000 New Zealanders visited China,” Mr Goff said.

“The agreement deals with practical matters ranging from travel facilitation, the detention of individuals and the authentication of documents, to assistance to ships and aircraft.

"It spells out the rights of citizens, including dual nationals, to access a range of consular services and the circumstances in which they may call upon the assistance of their government.

"As a result, the agreement will reinforce and extend the ability of our posts in China to help New Zealanders who may run into difficulties, and also better protect the consular rights and interests of Chinese visiting New Zealand."

Mr Goff said the agreement – signed last October during Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit – was New Zealand’s first country-to-country consular agreement. As such, it built on the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations – the international agreement that governs the treatment of visitors to most countries.

“Both the New Zealand and Chinese governments see it as a sign of the importance we attach to developing the relationship further through greater understanding and contact at the community and business level,” Mr Goff said.

The agreement will now go to select committee for consideration and public submissions, and is likely to come into force in the first half of next year.

ENDS

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