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Defence & tourism to be covered in UK programme

Key defence and tourism issues to be covered in UK programme

Mark Burton begins a two-week visit to the United Kingdom today, where he will meet with a number of ministers, government officials, and industry representatives to discuss a range of Defence and Tourism issues, as well as attend a number of official function and visits.

The programme will begin in London, where Mark Burton will hold a series of meetings and briefings, including meetings with the Minister of State for Defence, Minister for Defence Procurement, Chief of Defence Staff, Permanent Undersecretary for Defence, First Sea Lord, Commander of Defence Intelligence, and the Director of Special Forces. He will also receive a briefing at the Directorate of Reserve Forces and discuss British government policies currently in place to back Territorial Forces when they are called to active duty, including employer support and employee job protection. Both issues are particularly pertinent to New Zealand’s Volunteer Employment Protection Bill, which was reported back to Parliament earlier this month.

The Minister of Defence will also be inspecting the facilities at Portsmouth, where New Zealand’s junior Naval officers receive training, as well as meeting with some of the New Zealand officers currently stationed there. He will also make a visit to the International Institute of Strategic Studies (ISS)—a follow-up to his visit to the May ISS conference in Singapore. There, he will take part in a round table discussion on terrorism and global defence issues. He will then travel to Scotland, to discuss New Zealand’s current deployments with Lord Robertson, Secretary-General of NATO.

While in the UK, Mark Burton will have several meetings with key tourism industry representatives, as well as meeting with the UK Minister for Tourism and Sport. He will be speaking at both the Tourism New Zealand Awards and the Women in Film reception at the BFI London Film Festival, which is this year featuring three New Zealand filmmakers. He will also visit the New Zealand stand at the World Travel Mart.

Mark Burton will attend the Lord of the Rings exhibition at the London Science Museum, where he host a press conference with key UK media and meet with the editor of Wanderlust magazine—a premiere publication which recently named New Zealand as its top travel destination for the third time in a row.

Before leaving for a stopover meeting in Munich with key German/New Zealand tourism industry representatives, Mark Burton will finish the UK programme with a visit to the proposed site of the New Zealand War Memorial and represent the New Zealand government at the dedication ceremony for the new Australian War Memorial in Hyde Park.

“The UK is second only to Australia in visitor numbers, and one of our closest defence partners. This trip is in ideal opportunity to meet with a variety of key stakeholders in both tourism and defence, and to discuss vital issues of importance to both our nations,” said Mark Burton.

Mark Burton is scheduled to return to New Zealand on November 14.

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