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Cablegate: New Zealand: Ambassador Swindells Tells It Like It

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L WELLINGTON 000973

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP A/S KELLY; DAS SCHRIVER; AND EAP/ANP
NSC FOR MIKE GREEN AND CHUCK JONES
SECDEF FOR OSD/ISA LIZ PHU

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/19/2014
TAGS: PREL NZ
SUBJECT: NEW ZEALAND: AMBASSADOR SWINDELLS TELLS IT LIKE IT
IS TO PM CLARK

Classified By: AMBASSADOR CHARLES J. SWINDELLS,
FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D).

1. (U) On November 17, Prime Minister Helen Clark delivered
an address at the American Chamber of Commerce Business
Awards. She described the importance to New Zealand of its
economic relationship with the United States: The U.S. is New
Zealand's second-largest trading partner, with two-way trade
close to NZD 8 billion (USD 6 billion) annually. Exports to
the United States are about 15 percent by value of New
Zealand's global exports, and American companies account for
over NZD 12 billion (USD 9 billion) in investment and "many
thousands" of jobs. The Prime Minister also highlighted New
Zealand's continued interest in a Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
with the United States. She said that her country would
continue "to deploy diplomatic and other resources to build
on our already considerable support in the United States" for
an FTA, and claimed she would also make the same point to
President Bush when she had the opportunity to talk to him at
the upcoming APEC summit in Chile.

2. (C) After the speech, Ambassador Swindells, who was
sitting next to PM Clark, said that he understood from his
most recent phone conversation with Ambassador Wood in
Washington that New Zealand was planning a full lobbying
effort with the new Congress in hopes of getting legislators'
support for a U.S.-New Zealand FTA. She said yes -- New
Zealand needs to have ties with the world's biggest economy.
After noting that Congress (as does the Administration)
remains appreciative of New Zealand's contributions to
Afghanistan and Iraq, the Ambassador asked whether she was
concerned that members of the Senate Armed Services Committee
and others on the Hill might speak up against an FTA because
of their strong feelings about New Zealand's anti-nuclear
legislation. At this, the Prime Minister fell silent.

3. (C) The Ambassador continued by noting that Congress
would want to know if New Zealand would show any flexibility
on the nuclear issue. PM Clark responded that she welcomed
the idea of a Coast Guard ship visit. The Ambassador said
that he had already suggested this, but that the Navy had
said that a visit would send the wrong signal and he had to
agree. He said that if he raised the idea again, the Navy
(and others in Washington) would ask him what the United
States could expect from New Zealand in return. Ambassador
Swindells said that he thought Washington would want to know
there would be movement on the NZ side, and welcomed PM
Clark's thoughts on this.

4. (C) Earlier in the dinner, Ambassador Swindells asked
whether PM Clark intended to invite the President to New
Zealand. She said yes, in conjunction with the 50th
anniversaries of the U.S. and New Zealand bases in
Antarctica. She said that she believed the majority of New
Zealanders would welcome such a visit.

5. (C) Comment: The Prime Minister has now heard directly
the message that the Ambassador and the rest of the Embassy
will convey in the months ahead: if New Zealand wants to
further the bilateral relationship, it must reexamine the
limits its nuclear policy has put on our ties.


Swindells

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