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NZ’s WTO Ambassador to stand aside

NZ’s WTO Ambassador to stand aside

New Zealand’s Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation, Tim Groser, has confirmed that he intends to stand as a list candidate for the National Party in the forthcoming general election.

As a consequence, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Murdoch, acting in conformity with the provisions of s.52 of the Electoral Act, has placed Mr Groser on leave. (Under this provision, public servants are required to step aside from their duties if they are contesting an election.)

While on leave, Mr Groser will not carry out any of the duties and responsibilities of New Zealand’s Ambassador to the WTO. New Zealand’s Deputy WTO Ambassador, Tony Lynch, has become Chargé d’Affaires.

In addition to being New Zealand’s WTO Ambassador, Mr Groser has also been Chair of the WTO Agriculture Committee meeting in special session. This is a very important role in the context of completing the Doha Development Agenda.

The Government will therefore be consulting with the WTO leadership as it considers the implications of Mr Groser’s changed status. In the meantime, Mr Groser is available to continue in this role.

The Electoral Act allows for Mr Groser to continue as an MFAT employee after the election if he is not elected. The Government has, however, decided that at this time it requires a WTO Ambassador in Geneva, and it is therefore not able to keep this specific position unfilled throughout the pre-election period.

End

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