Speech: Peters - Parliamentary Delegation dinner
Speech at dinner in honour of Parliamentary
of Maharashtra Legislature
Langham Hotel, Auckland
7pm, Saturday, May 13, 2017
Exciting possibilities for both countries
Welcome to the delegates of Maharashtra Legislature.
Thank you for the invitation to be here this evening.
We trust that your visit to New Zealand will be an enjoyable one.
Last year we had the pleasure of welcoming the Speaker of the Indian Parliament, Sumitra Mahajan to New Zealand.
Also, last year the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, came to New Zealand on a six-day state visit – the first visit here by a President of your country.
This was 20 years after Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi visited New Zealand.
The ties between India and New Zealand go back a long way and a lot of it has centred around cricket, a sport both our countries love.
Today more than 170,000 people of Indian origin live in New Zealand.
Every day that goes by the ties between us grow stronger.
Last month Auckland hosted the World Masters Games and probably the most well publicised competitor was 101-year-old Man Kuar, from Punjab.
She showed us age is only a number!
This week we learned
business groups in Auckland have been urging Air India to
take one of its 10 services that travel to Sydney and
Melbourne and divert it here to Auckland.
We could have a direct connection between either your home city Mumbai or Delhi and Auckland.
Trade between our two countries is growing.
New Zealand exports mainly commodities – coal, oil and wood - to India.
India exports gems, jewellery, spices, tea, and horticulture products to New Zealand.
In five years from 2007 to 2012 New Zealand’s trade with India grew to $1.1 billion and it is now worth more than $2.5 billion for New Zealand.
India is now New Zealand’s 10th largest trading partner.
During his visit to New Zealand last year President Shri Pranab Mukherjee said India wants to enhance bilateral co-operation between the two countries in dairy development, food processing, communications and information technology, clean energy and water, disaster management, biotechnology, healthcare and services, to mention a few.
“We would very much like to learn from the successful experience and practices of New Zealand and collaborate with you in creating new and innovative products and technology.”
Last year during former Prime Minister John Key’s visit to India, he and your Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a joint statement.
This statement included a commitment to work towards a high quality, comprehensive and balanced bilateral Free Trade Agreement, which would deliver meaningful commercial outcomes.
Exciting possibilities exist for both our countries.
With Brexit and Britain’s departure from the EU, our political party, New Zealand First, sees this as an opportunity for the Commonwealth nations to draw even closer together economically.
The Commonwealth is already a dynamic powerhouse.
It crosses every time zone and trading session in the world.
It covers almost a quarter of the world’s land area.
Together, we have a population of over 2.3 billion, nearly a third of the world’s population.
In 2014 the Commonwealth produced GDP of $10.45 trillion, a massive 17% of gross world product.
The combined gross domestic product of Commonwealth countries is predicted to hit US$14 trillion by 2020.
We already have a model for what could happen with our Closer Economic Relations with Australia.
We believe we should now have Closer Commonwealth Economic Relations, or CCER.
CCER is about free trade.
It could be the means to bring in other Commonwealth states, such as your country which is an emerging economic giant.
Yes – it could make the Commonwealth an economic colossus.
Your visit to New Zealand is part of our growing relationship.
We trust upon your return that this delegation will be a voice for progress in the future.
Once again, enjoy your stay in New Zealand.