Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

The Colombo Plan at 50: A New Zealand Perspective

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister

Address at the launch of

The Colombo Plan at 50: A New Zealand Perspective


Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade,
Wellington

4 pm

Tuesday, 27 November 2001


I am pleased to be able to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Colombo Plan by launching this publication on New Zealand’s involvement with the Plan.

The Colombo Plan at 50: A New Zealand Perspective sets out New Zealand’s early engagement with and contribution to the development of some of the emerging independent countries of Asia in the early post war era, and puts our Overseas Development Assistance programme and its evolution in its historical context.

New Zealand is proud to have been a founding member of the Colombo Plan. It was initiated at the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers’ Conference in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in January 1950.

That conference formulated the Asian economic and social development programme which, in the following year, would come into being as the Colombo Plan. It was attended by the then New Zealand Foreign Minister, Frederick W Doidge, along with representatives from Ceylon, Canada, and United Kingdom, Pakistan, India, Australia and South Africa.

Those were momentous but uncertain days. The Marshall Plan had begun to restore economic stability to western Europe after the Second World War, decolonisation in Asia was proceeding apace, the superpower conflict was in its infancy, and the People’s Republic of China had just come into being.

The Colombo Plan was initially envisaged as fulfilling a short-term need in this turbulent period, yet, remarkably, it still prospers. It has been able to substantially increase its membership, overcome periods of uncertainty when it seemed there was no way forward, and reposition itself to retain its relevance.

New Zealand played an active role in the Plan from its founding until the 1980s. Thereafter, the education and training work we supported became integrated into the work of our official bilateral aid programmes.

In those thirty or more years, the Colombo Plan brought hundreds of people from throughout South, North, and Southeast Asia to our country for advanced training in a wide range of subjects. In turn, the students who came played a big part in introducing New Zealanders to Asian faces, accents, culture, and cuisine.

The first students to come to New Zealand under the Colombo Plan were six dental nurse trainees from Ceylon – featured on the cover of the publication – who in those times made a striking appearance in their colourful saris.

Some former students, including some of our guests here today, have stayed and made New Zealand their home.

New Zealanders also went to Asia under the Plan – at a time when fewer people travelled overseas – to share their expertise and knowledge with developing countries, and we also have some of those people here with us today.

The Colombo Plan helped create links which today we take for granted. It helped bring an awareness that New Zealanders and the peoples of Asia are neighbours, and that we have many common interests. It has cultivated friendship, co-operation, and partnerships which would otherwise not have been possible.

It is in part because of the Colombo Plan that our relationships with the nations of Asia are now more mature and broadly based. It is important that New Zealanders, particularly those of the generation which accepts close links with Asia as a fact of life, know something of these earlier connections.

New Zealand continues to support the Colombo Plan’s objectives. This publication conveys the vision of those people who gave the Plan life, and the remarkable degree to which the Plan has met – and exceeded – their expectations.

It is also a story about those remarkable New Zealanders who gave their time and knowledge through the Colombo Plan to improve the lives of others. That continues today through the NZODA supported programmes in Asia and through agencies such as the VSA – from East Timor to Afghanistan. It continues also through the English language training programme at Victoria University, provided originally for Colombo Plan students and now for officials from the Mekong Region.

Against this background I want to express my appreciation to the many people who have contributed to the production of The Colombo Plan at 50 and to launch it officially.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The Roe v Wade Aftermath


Now that the right of US women to abortion (formerly protected by Roe v Wade) has been abolished, the important role of medication-induced abortion will come even more to the fore. Already, research by the Guttmacher Institute reproductive rights centre shows that over half of US abortions are obtained by medication. According to the US Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organisation, the abortion pills can be safely self-administered at home within the first ten weeks of pregnancy, rather than via a surgical procedure carried out in a bricks-and-mortar abortion clinic...
More>>



 
 


Winston Peters: Issues Judicial Review Proceedings

Winston Peters has issued judicial review proceedings against Speaker of the House the Rt Honourable Trevor Mallard, challenging Mr Mallard’s issue of a trespass warning against Mr Peters on 28 April 2022, which the Speaker then withdrew on 4 May 2022... More>>

Government: Electoral Changes Will Bring Greater Transparency For Voters

Changes to electoral law announced by Justice Minister Kiri Allan today aim to support participation in parliamentary elections, and improve public trust and confidence in New Zealand’s electoral system... More>>


Parliament: Grounds Fully Reopened

Parliament’s grounds have been fully reopened today at a ceremony and community event with mana whenua, members of the public, and representatives of Parliament... More>>


NZ Republic: Charles CHOGM Speech Green Light For Change
“Prince Charles had made it clear in his speech to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Rwanda today that even the Royal family think it’s time for change” said Lewis Holden, campaign chair of New Zealand Republic... More>>


National: Goodfellow To Retire As Party President
Peter Goodfellow today announced he will not seek re-election as President of the National Party at its Annual Conference. Mr Goodfellow will remain as a director on the board for one final term to assist in the transition... More>>

Police: Parliament Occupation Investigators Seek Public Assistance
Police investigating criminal activity on the final day of the occupation at Parliament grounds earlier this year are appealing for the public’s help to identify 15 people... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels