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UK PM Tony Blair to visit

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister of New Zealand
Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage

27 March 2006 Media Statement

UK PM Tony Blair to visit

Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today that United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair is visiting New Zealand on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Helen Clark said the visit of Prime Minister Blair is the first official bilateral visit by a British Prime Minister since Harold Macmillan in 1958. John Major visited New Zealand in 1995 to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government conference.

“The United Kingdom is a major economy within the European Union and is a significant player in world affairs. We share similar views on a broad range of international issues and work closely together. We value deeply the relationship we have with them.

“Our historically strong people-to-people links are constantly being renewed through the large numbers of tourists and young people from both our countries who spend time in each other’s country. We also have strong professional, academic, and governmental connections.

“Those historic ties mean our two countries and peoples have a considerable affinity for each other. This visit is an opportunity to build on these relationships and to share perspectives on issues of mutual domestic and international interest.”

While in New Zealand, Tony Blair will have official discussions with Helen Clark.

“We have similar systems of government and share many similarities in the approaches we take in areas like health, employment, education, superannuation, and economic policy. We are to discuss how we can improve our policy-making through the exchange of information and ideas between officials and agencies.

“We will also discuss broadening the arrangement we have in place to help New Zealand companies expanding into the United Kingdom,” Helen Clark said.

Mr Blair will also visit a number of locations in the Auckland area. He will be accompanied by his wife, Cherie Blair.


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