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Senior EU diplomat concludes visit to New Zealand

Media Release:
Senior EU diplomat concludes visit to New Zealand

Helga Schmid, Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs in the EU's European External Action Service, has concluded her visit to New Zealand, from 8-9 November.

Ms Schmid is a highly experienced diplomat. She is currently deeply involved in the international negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue, which the EU High Representative Catherine Ashton conducts on behalf of the E3+3 group (US, Russia, China, France, UK and Germany) and has in the past year represented the EU in the Middle East Peace Process Quartet.

She also coordinates the EU's response to the Arab Spring; relations with Syria; as well as relations with countries like Burma/Myanmar, Afghanistan, Pakistan; and regional issues such as maritime disputes in East Asia.
While in Wellington, she met with the Minister of Defence, Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman and held an informal security dialogue with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, concentrating on her areas of expertise. She also gave a public talk on the European Union's response to security challenges in its neighbourhood and Asia.

Ms Schmid has been involved in diplomacy and political affairs for the past two decades in the German diplomatic service with posting in Washington, and has worked with the EU in Brussels since 2006. Her educational background is from Munich University, and the Sorbonne, Paris.

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Gordon Campbell:
On First Time Voting (Centre Right)

For the next two days, I’m turning my column over to two guest columnists who are first time voters. I’ve asked them to explain why they were voting, for whom and what role they thought their parental upbringing had played in shaping their political beliefs ; and at the end, to choose a piece of music.

One guest columnist will be from the centre right, one from the centre left. Today’s column is from the centre right – by James Penn:

As someone who likes to consider himself, in admittedly vainglorious fashion, a considered and rational actor, the act of voting for the first time is a somewhat confusing one. I know that my vote has a close to zero chance of actually influencing the outcome of Parliament. The chance I will cast the marginal vote that adds to National or Act’s number of seats in Parliament is miniscule. The chance, even if I did, that doing so would affect the government makes voting on a strictly practical level even more spurious as a worthwhile exercise.

But somehow I have spent a large amount of time (perhaps detrimentally so, depending on the outcome of my upcoming exams) agonising over how to cast my first vote in a national election. More>>

 

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