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Korea links boost New Zealand’s prosperity


Korea links boost New Zealand’s prosperity

“Links with Korea are bringing a large and growing benefit to New Zealand”, Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today at the end of a visit to Seoul.

“It would be a tragedy if the politically motivated anti-Asian rhetoric voiced by Winston Peters put these gains at risk by creating a false image of New Zealand being prejudiced against people of Asian origin. There is a danger that his minority views will be seen here to reflect those of New Zealanders as a whole.

“Korea is now the world’s 12th largest economy. It is a community embracing the cutting edge of high tech innovations. It offers real and substantial opportunities to New Zealand – including our scientific institutions, our film industry and our high tech industries.

“The Korean people’s search for educational opportunities is increasing the number of students wanting to study in New Zealand. New Zealanders are also taking up work in Korea in increasing numbers to teach English. Up to two thousand kiwis are teaching English in Korea.

“The demand for international travel is surging, giving rapidly rising returns to New Zealand in both employment opportunities and foreign exchange earnings. Meanwhile, Korea has consolidated its position as New Zealand’s fifth largest export market, with exports for the year to August totaling $1.4 billion.

“Korean people have a huge interest in New Zealand and a growing awareness of what we have to offer. There is real interest in New Zealand as a great place to study, a tourism destination and a place to do business.

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“Last night, the Korean Trade Minister told me that a growing number of Koreans he knew were planning extended holidays in New Zealand. He cited the reasons as being not only New Zealand’s scenic environment and quality services, but also the hospitality and friendliness of New Zealanders generally.

“This image of New Zealand, however, could be fundamentally damaged by the negative and prejudiced comments made by Winston Peters.

“Last year, around 8000 Koreans studied in New Zealand. Preliminary indications are that around 12,000 Koreans have taken up education opportunities in New Zealand in the past twelve months. It is estimated that Korean fee paying students will bring New Zealand some $210 million this year.

“The latest results of Tourism New Zealand’s international visitor survey show that New Zealand earnings from Korean tourism went up a dramatic 86% in the past year to $229 million.

“New Zealand’s links with Korea are contributing substantially to New Zealand’s own prosperity. The more than $440 million in earnings from tourism and students alone from Korea this year represents literally thousands of jobs for New Zealanders as well as tax revenue to promote social services for New Zealanders such as health and education.

“The awareness and personal relationships developed with Korea – especially through education and tourism – will also help strengthen trade and other links in the future.

“We need to keep working hard to secure the best possible benefits for New Zealand – for our people and economy. Mr Peters’ Pauline Hansen like comments, however, can only be to the detriment of this progress”, Mr Goff said.

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