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Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum 2006

Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum 2006

I will attend the third meeting of the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum to be held in Auckland on 5-6 May. Previous meetings were held in Wellington in 2004 and Melbourne in 2005.

The Forum brings together leaders from business, government and academia for a free and frank discussion, under Chatham House rules, of issues affecting the bilateral relationship.

The Chairman of the Insurance Australia Group and Woolworths Limited, James Strong and the Chairman of the Bank of New Zealand, Kerry McDonald will co-chair the meeting. They will be joined by more than 30 prominent Australians and a similar number of New Zealanders as delegates to the Forum (complete list below).

This year, delegates will discuss the progress of the Single Economic Market, and other matters of particular interest to the trans-Tasman business community, as well as broader economic, social and foreign affairs issues, including competition policy, taxation, common border issues, education and research, labour market trends and the implications for Australia and New Zealand of China's growing economic and political influence.

The inaugural Forum in 2004 called for deeper integration of the Australian and New Zealand economies, and last year's Forum focused on the two Government's Single Economic Market initiative.

I expect that, as in previous years, the Forum will highlight the benefits to Australia and New Zealand of closer economic integration and of increased cooperation within the region.

I wish to thank the sponsors of Australia's participation in this event - Qantas, ANZ and Telstra - for their generous assistance. I also wish to acknowledge the valuable contributions of Mr Strong and Mr McDonald in bringing the Forum together.

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