Rice Visit Takes NZ/US Relationship Into New Phase
Rice Visit Takes NZ/US Relationship Into A New Phase
A future free trade agreement and the eventual removal of restrictions currently applying to military exercises with the United States are outcomes that could flow from a much improved relationship with the United States, heralded by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s recent visit to Auckland, says the NZ US Council.
In an address for delivery to the New Zealand/American Association in Wellington on Wednesday 6 August, NZ US Council Executive Director Stephen Jacobi said that Dr Rice’s visit marks a new phase in the relationship.
“Dr Rice’s remarks reflect a return to a relationship which is no longer defined by things on which we disagree but which captures and draws value from the range of things we have in common”.
Mr Jacobi said that common ideals like a commitment to peace, prosperity and democracy were the glue which held the relationship together.
“This does not mean that we are always going to think the same way about everything … but that need not stop us working together where this flows from our common ideals and common values”.
In his address Mr Jacobi pointed out that other countries including Australia, Chile and Sweden were developing their economic relationship with the United States more quickly than New Zealand
“A future free trade agreement would help address the gaps in the economic relationship and put us on a level playing field in the American market alongside our key competitors”.
In defence the eventual removal of the Presidential directive restricting military exercising is something that could logically flow as a close relationship between friends and allies.
“Finding ways for our military to exercise together more frequently can only help as we address the peace-keeping and peace-building challenges around the world”.
Mr Jacobi said Dr Rice’s visit represented a significant milestone in the process of relationship building to which the two Governments had committed themselves and captured the sense of momentum that had been established in two US NZ Partnership Forum events in April 2006 and September 2007.
“Rather than being on the periphery of US interests New Zealand is increasingly seen as a reliable and valued partner where closer economic alignment is a logical consequence of increasing political co-operation”.