Minister Flanagan hails New Zealand Embassy decision as a welcome boost for Ireland24 March 2017
Minister Flanagan hails New Zealand Embassy decision as a welcome boost for Ireland
Decision points to “ever growing political, economic & cultural ties between our two countries”
Ireland’s place at the heart of the EU is now of growing importance
Following the announcement by the Government of New Zealand that it to open an Embassy in Dublin, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, stated:
“I am delighted that New Zealand has decided to open an Embassy in Dublin. My New Zealand counterpart, Murray McCully, visited Dublin in January and we discussed the possibility of a new embassy. The positive decision just taken by the New Zealand government testifies to the ever growing political, economic and cultural links between our two countries. Ireland’s place at the heart of the EU is now of growing importance to our international partners.
“Ireland and New Zealand have a long history of friendship and cooperation. We have a great deal in common. We are island nations, we have similarly sized populations and, most importantly, we are open democracies with shared values and interests, such as strong support for the UN and the multilateral system, as exemplified by our work on disarmament, peacekeeping and development assistance.
“Each of our countries is a member of the Small Advanced Economies Initiative, which is an opportunity for us to work together with other partners on issues such as science and innovation, economic policy and international and regional challenges.
“The most important bond between us is our people. There is a great geographic distance between our two countries but that has never stopped our citizens travelling from one side of the world to the other in search of employment, trade or educational opportunities, or, of course, family connections. We welcomed 32,000 tourists from New Zealand in 2015 and I am confident those numbers can grow. We are now bidding to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup and I know that if we are successful, we will see a surge in visitors from the great rugby nations of the southern hemisphere.
“An estimated 14,000 Irish-born people live in New Zealand while approximately one in six New Zealanders claim Irish heritage, out of a total population of 4.7 million. This is an excellent basis of enhancing our links in a whole range of areas including tourism and trade.
“Working with like-minded countries to achieve our common goals has always been a cornerstone of our approach to foreign policy. Resident Embassies are a great resource in this regard, as they allow us to deepen our understanding of the local context and to communicate clearly and effectively our priorities and concerns.
“The opening of a resident Embassy of New Zealand in Dublin in the near future will help us to deepen our friendship, strengthen our cooperation and further develop our trade and economic links.
“As my Department prepares a new cross-sectoral strategy for the Asia-Pacific region, active consideration is being given to the question of opening new missions in the region, including in New Zealand.”
24 March 2017
Note to Editors:
Ireland has an Honorary Consul, Ms Niamh McMahon, based in Auckland. Ms McMahon and her Deputy, Ms Denise Flanagan, handle consular and representational matters for Ireland across New Zealand.
Bilateral trade and tourism statistics
- Total merchandise exports from Ireland to New Zealand in 2015 were valued at €92 million; imports were valued at €51.7 million.
- CSO figures from 2014 valued Ireland’s services exports at €146 million.
- Tourist numbers from New Zealand to the island of Ireland in 2015 were 32,000.
- IDA Ireland's Sydney office covers New Zealand. Enterprise Ireland employs a part time representative based in Auckland and the country is covered from EI’s office in Sydney. At least 28 Irish companies currently operate in New Zealand.
Background Note on the Small Advanced Economies Initiative (SAEI)
The Small Advanced Economies Initiative (SAEI) is a collaboration between Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Singapore and Switzerland. Initiated by the New Zealand Government in June 2012, it comprises a network of senior officials who confer on and share insights into members’ growth challenges and opportunities and foreign policy issues in three key areas: science and innovation, economic policy, and foreign affairs/international issues.
New Zealand takes the lead and provides a light secretariat. The next plenary meeting will be hosted by Finland late this year, with an interim gathering in Switzerland scheduled for May. Plenary meetings have been held in Copenhagen and Jerusalem and, most recently, in Dublin last September.