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Forum looks to build Aus-NZ relationship

Leadership Forum looks to build Aus-NZ relationship

Strengthening the trans-Tasman relationship will be the core goal of this weekend’s inaugural Australia-New Zealand Leadership Forum, the chair of the New Zealand side, BNZ Chairman Kerry McDonald, said today.

The Forum will bring together some 70 Australian and New Zealand leaders – 35 from each country – from a wide variety of sectors for two days of talks. The venue will be Government House in Wellington.

“New Zealand and Australia already work together closely in a whole range of areas, but we need a more extensive and effective network of senior contacts – people who are well placed to make a difference to the future growth of the relationship,” Mr McDonald said.

“The aim of the Forum is, over time, to identify and develop a network of people with visions of the future relationship and to discuss their ideas in the wider community.”

Organisers hoped the Forum would become an annual event, Mr McDonald said.

The Wellington meeting will be chaired by Mr McDonald and Qantas chair Margaret Jackson. Senior cabinet ministers from both sides of the Tasman – including New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Dr Michael Cullen and Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff – will take part, along with businesspeople, sports and cultural figures, academics and officials.

The Forum starts with introductory sessions on the afternoon of Friday 14 May and continues throughout Saturday 15 May. A media conference to introduce to the Forum will be hosted by Mr McDonald today, Tuesday 11 May, at 11am on the fourth floor of BNZ Headquarters, 1 Willis St (Victoria St entrance). A further media conference involving Ms Jackson, Mr McDonald and cabinet ministers from both countries will be held at Government House at 1.10pm on Saturday 15th.

The Australia-New Zealand Leadership Forum is being coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade with New Zealand sponsorship from Telecom NZ Ltd.

Note: If you are planning to attend the Saturday media conference at Government House, please let us know by midday on Friday 14 May so we can arrange clearance.

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