Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Address at Reception for UK PM Rt Hon Tony Blair

Tuesday 28 March 2006

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister

Address at
Reception in Honour of Rt Hon Tony Blair,
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and
150th Anniversary of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce

Town Hall
Auckland

7.30 pm


Tuesday 28 March 2006

It is a great pleasure for me to welcome the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rt Hon Tony Blair, and Mrs Cherie Blair to New Zealand.

I am also pleased that this official function in honour of Mr and Mrs Blair marks the 150th anniversary of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, as trade links with Britain have played a huge part in the economic history of New Zealand.

Prime Minister, the modern nation of New Zealand has its origin in the Treaty of Waitangi signed between Queen Victoria’s representative, Governor Hobson, and many of New Zealand’s Maori tribes in 1840.

From that time a unique nation has developed in this country in which British people and their descendants have played a major role.

New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements and rule of law are heavily derived from British precedent, and to this day we share a head of state, Her Majesty the Queen.

For not far short of a century, Britain was New Zealand’s dominant trade partner. Its importance as a market for us peaked in the 1930s when ninety per cent of all our exports went to Britain, and even around the time of Britain’s EU entry around a third of our exports still went there.

Indeed at that time Britain worked hard for as good a deal as possible for New Zealand in the EEC market, because, as Britain’s chief negotiator said at the time, “New Zealand was small, because she was far away, because of her support in war…… for these and many other reasons the way the Community would treat her had become a touchstone for millions of ordinary people, of their attitude towards our entry”.

In those few words, one senses the depth of the relationship between New Zealand and Britain. New Zealand had stood alongside Britain in two World Wars, South Africa, Malaya, and in other international engagements too. The governmental, economic, and family links were very strong.

Now in the early years of the 21st century, Britain is well integrated into the European Union and its North Atlantic networks. New Zealand’s regional interests see us embedded in the architecture of the Asia Pacific.

Yet we continue to value the strong bonds of our heritage and our shared values, and our economic and people to people links remain very strong.

Britain is our fifth biggest trade partner, and the third largest source of foreign investment in New Zealand. It is our second largest source of tourists, and the single largest source of permanent and long term migrants to New Zealand. This suggests that strong ties with Britain are not just a feature of our past, but will be very much a feature of our future too.

New Zealand will on Armistice Day this year be dedicating a Memorial at Hyde Park Corner, in London. It will serve as a focus of remembrance of shared sacrifice between New Zealand and the United Kingdom and be a permanent reminder of our special relationship.

Prime Minister, I have very much valued our friendship over many years, going back to when we were Leaders of the Opposition in our respective countries, and seeking to lead our Labour Parties back to government.

Over the years we’ve discussed many issues in domestic and foreign policies. On many, we’ve taken similar approaches; on a very few we haven’t. Throughout our time in government, our diplomats, defence personnel, and many other officials have maintained very strong collaborative relationships. That includes in defence, where Britain continues to offer many training opportunities, and where we work alongside Britain in Bosnia and in Afghanistan to this day. Our military engineers in Iraq were also well supported by their British counterparts.

All these factors make Prime Minister Tony Blair as the Leader of one of New Zealand’s oldest and closest friends a very welcome guest in New Zealand. I look forward to the talks we will have tomorrow and to the ongoing strong relationship I know our country will enjoy with yours. Thank you for accepting our invitation to visit, and welcome to New Zealand.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Charlotte Graham: Empowering Communities To Act In A Disaster

The year of record-breaking natural disasters means that in the US, as in New Zealand, there’s a conversation happening about how best to run the emergency management sector and what philosophies best engage and protect communities in the event of a crisis.

How much of the responsibility for a community’s safety in a natural disaster is the Government’s, and how much can be left up to the community themselves? And how do we ensure none of our most vulnerable residents are left behind? More>>

 

CPAG Report: The Further Fraying Of The Welfare Safety Net

New Zealand’s welfare system has undergone a major transformation during the past three decades. This process has seriously thwarted the original intent of the system, which was to provide a decent standard of living for all New Zealanders in times of need... More>>

ALSO:

Signage, Rumble Strips, Barriers: Boost For State Highway Road Safety

Boost for road safety this summer Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter today announced a short term boost in road safety funding this summer and signalled a renewed focus from the Government on introducing safer speed limits. More>>

ALSO:

Risks & Adaptation: Cheaper To Cut Emissions Than Deal With Climate Change

The cost of climate change to New Zealand is still unknown, but a group of experts tasked with plugging the country's information gaps says it will likely be significant and it would be cheaper to cut greenhouse emissions than simply adapting to those changes. More>>

ALSO:

BPS HYEFU WYSIWYG: Labour's Budget Plans, Families Package

“Today we are announcing the full details of the Government’s Families Package. This is paid for by rejecting National’s tax cuts and instead targeting spending at those who need it most. It will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2021." More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages