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India New Zealand Business Council

Acting Mayor launches India New Zealand Business Council chapter in Christchurch

Acting Mayor Norm Withers launched the South Island Chapter of the India New Zealand Business Council last week with a call to seek improved bilateral opportunities.

“New Zealand and India have been friends for a long time and, as our governments are now engaged in negotiations for a free trade agreement, now is a good time to be looking at opportunities for both our countries,” Mr Withers said.

While coal was one of New Zealand’s leading exports to India, Mr Withers said he was sure there were many more synergies for business between the two countries. “One of the benefits of Christchurch is that we are small and our businesses know each other which means it is easy to get what you want quickly.”

He said the local Indian community played an increasingly important role in Christchurch affairs. “As a Council we are engaging with the Indian community.” Earlier in the week Mr Withers joined the local branch of the New Zealand Sikh Society to welcome Commander Dilip Donde during the Christchurch stop-over of the Commander’s solo circumnavigation of the world in a yacht.

“We have much in common – most importantly a love of cricket.” Mr Withers’ daughter Katrina has played in two Cricket World Cup finals, one of which was at Eden Park in Kolkata, India while Mr Withers has represented Canterbury.

The cricket theme was further cemented by the presence of Sir Richard Hadlee - the newly-appointed patron of the India New Zealand Business Council – at the launch at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) on Thursday 26 November.

Sir Richard has a long association with India going back to 1976. He set his then-world record tally of 374 Test wickets in Bangalore in the first test of that series. In the second test his 10 wicket haul helped New Zealand to a rare test win in India. In a home series against India in 1989/90, he become the first bowler in history to take 400 test wickets.

Most recently Sir Richard has become involved with India at a business level, including launching the Apollo Hospital Group’s first dedicated knee clinic at a ceremony in Hyderabad.

India New Zealand Business Council Chair, Mr Wenceslaus Anthony, said that he hoped that the presence of a local chapter would increase the council’s ability to serve the interests of members, and to better inform stakeholders of opportunities and issues to do with India trade.

The South Island chapter will be headed by Robert Barker, Director of New Zealand Innovative Future Solutions (NZIFS), a company which has a particular focus on the Indian market, said Mr Anthony.

The India New Zealand Business Council is working on launching chapters in Wellington and Auckland to make council events and executive members more accessible for local businesses around the main centres, he said.

The India New Zealand Business Council was established in 1988.


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