Helen Clark - US Independence Day Celebration
Tuesday 4 July 2006
Rt Hon Helen Clark
United States Independence Day Celebration
Tuesday 4 July 2006
Your Excellency Ambassador McCormick and Mrs McCormick, staff members and families of the United States Embassy; Your Excellencies and Members of the Diplomatic Corps; Members of Parliament; Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is a pleasure to be here today to celebrate Independence Day. As Ambassador McCormick has described, this is a time when the people of the United States reflect on the founding of their nation and on the principles of freedom and democracy on which this independence was based.
It is also a day for we New Zealanders to reaffirm our strong friendship with the United States. We share the values of freedom and democracy being celebrated here this evening. We have a long history of working together for a free, democratic, secure, and prosperous world.
New Zealand and the United States have worked alongside each other in many conflicts from World War One on. Only a month ago we commemorated D-Day and the incredible sacrifice made by the allies in that major step in the liberation of Europe. Our service men and women are co-operating today in Afghanistan to help restore stability there and give development a chance, as well as to counter terrorism. Overall we work closely with the United States to strengthen safeguards against terrorism and trans-national crime.
The United States is a major trading partner for New Zealand; indeed our second largest after Australia. Our dynamic, open economies and our respect for the rule of law have allowed extensive business, and technology links to flourish. Together, our trade negotiators are working in the World Trade Organisation on the Doha Development Round, and reports of the last week suggest we will have to work a little harder !
Our governmental relationship is underpinned by the many links between our peoples. Countless thousands of New Zealanders and Americans have lived, studied, researched, or worked in each other’s country, thus gaining an appreciation of each other’s lifestyles and traditions. Tourism both ways is strong. Through these experiences, and exposure, more and more New Zealanders have an understanding of the great diversity, dynamism, and creativity which have contributed to the unique global standing of the United States. I also believe that New Zealand’s creativity, innovation, and enterprise are more widely known about these days in the United States.
Our relationship with the United States is of fundamental importance to New Zealand, and one which we greatly value. I know it will continue to grow and develop in the 21st century as it has in the past.
Can I now ask you to join me in a toast:
“To the friendship between the United States and New Zealand, and to the President of the United States of America”.