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Philip Burdon new Chair of Asia:NZ Foundation

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

19 December 2006

Philip Burdon new Chair of Asia:NZ Foundation

Former Trade Negotiations Minister Philip Burdon has been appointed Chair of the Asia:NZ Foundation, Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today.

Mr Burdon replaces Sir Dryden Spring, who stands down after five years as Chair. He will take charge of a new-look Board with four new members and two new ex officio appointments. Several other appointments are also in the pipeline.

Mr Peters paid tribute to the long service of Sir Dryden, who first joined the Asia:NZ Board in 1996, and thanked outgoing members of the current Board.

“Sir Dryden has made a significant contribution to the success of Asia:NZ, and the work of his Board must also be acknowledged," Mr Peters said.

"As Chair, Sir Dryden oversaw the Seriously Asia Conference in 2003, which lifted general awareness of Asia's importance to New Zealand. The conference also gave the Foundation a major role in leading New Zealand's engagement with Asia, and in raising awareness of our Asian communities.

"Mr Burdon's long engagement with Asia is well documented. As Trade Negotiations Minister he was instrumental in establishing Asia 2000 (now Asia:NZ) in 1992, having recognized the importance of strengthening New Zealand's understanding of, and interaction with, Asia at all levels. He is currently Patron of the NZ China Friendship Society.

"The skills and experience of Mr Burdon and his new Board will be almost immediately put to the test over the next year.

"One of the first challenges will be to link in with Export Year 2007 to raise awareness of the immense business opportunities that exist in Asia. Half of our top 20 markets, and three of our top six, are there. Most of those markets continue to grow strongly and we are still to reach our potential in any of them.

"Asia:NZ will also host a major conference next June as a follow-up to Seriously Asia, while a review of the Foundation's mandate and requirements in 2007 will add to a renewed strategic focus on our engagement with Asia.

"Another key task for the Foundation will be building on its advocacy for a greater focus on Asian studies in the education system, as sustaining stronger links will require a higher level of 'Asian literacy' than we currently enjoy.

"Assisting the integration of Asian communities into mainstream New Zealand life is another important role, and the increasing public interest in events such as the Diwali and Lantern festivals is due in large part to the Foundation's work," Mr Peters said.

New appointments to the Asia:NZ Board are:
- Philip Burdon, Chair (company director)
- Rob McLeod (NZ Business Roundtable Chairman)
- Mai Chen (Chen Palmer Barristers and Solicitors)
- Gavin Ellis (former editor of the New Zealand Herald)
- Richard Nottage (former Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade).

Four Board members, whose current terms have expired, have been reappointed: Former CTU President Ken Douglas; Public Law and Asian business law specialist Lex Henry; Cereus Holdings chairman and CEO Vino Ramayah, and MP Pansy Wong.

Current Board members are Tourism New Zealand chairman Wally Stone; Fonterra chairman Henry van der Heyden; Landcare Research director Jo Brosnahan; LM Rankine managing director Michael Park, and Dr Manying Ip of Auckland University's School of Asia Studies.

Dianne Yates MP, Chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee, and Education Secretary Karen Sewell have been appointed ex officio. They join NZTE chief executive Tim Gibson, and Foreign Affairs Secretary Simon Murdoch.

ENDS

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