Auckland City Mayor leads trade mission to Pacific
APIA: 03 June 2012: A group of prominent Auckland business leaders arrive in Samoa today led by Len Brown, Mayor of the city with the largest Pacific population in the world.
Auckland Council’s second international trade delegation, led by the Mayor with the support of Councillor Mike Lee, aims to further develop closer economic and political relationships with Auckland’s three Pacific partner countries.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship between New Zealand and Samoa, as well as the 50th anniversary of Samoan independence, and the mission also serves to acknowledge these important milestones.
“I am proud of the close association we enjoy with the Samoan, Tongan and Cook Island communities living in the Auckland region,” says Len Brown. “We value their very special contribution to the diversity and vibrancy of our city. We want to see sustainable economic development flourish between our countries, and enable the communities of the Pacific to enjoy a secure and prosperous future.”
Delegates will include selected Auckland business executives drawn from the education, infrastructure and food & beverage sectors. These are amongst the priority sectors in Auckland Council’s Economic Development Strategy. Together they represent 23 per cent of the Auckland economy.
The mission aims to renew, stimulate and strengthen relationships with Auckland’s partner countries; to present a unified Auckland approach to promoting the city’s capabilities and its contribution to sustainable development in the Pacific; to provide a catalyst for business opportunities for participating companies and increase two-way trade opportunities; and provide participants with a greater understanding of the Pacific market.
Delegates will receive briefings by the New Zealand High Commissioners and other relevant business representatives; attend official receptions and networking functions; undertake site visits to key infrastructure projects and relevant business operations; meet with businesses in the food and beverage, education and infrastructure sectors; and meet with key government officials and business organisations.
The mission is organised by Auckland Council and supported by Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), with the support of key stakeholders in Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands.
Editors notes: Auckland and the Pacific:
- 14 per cent of Auckland’s population is of Pacific origin.
- In February 2011, the mayor established a Pacific Peoples Advisory Panel to provide advice on strategic issues of importance to the pacific people living in Auckland. This Panel is legislated by the new Auckland Council legislation, and reflects the important role that Pacific communities play in the cultural, social and economic life of Auckland. The Panel members are actively contributing to the ongoing conversation of making Auckland one of the world’s most liveable cities.
- Auckland’s Pasifika Festival – one of the biggest events on Auckland’s cultural calendar – celebrated its 20th anniversary in March of this year. As the largest Pacific festival in the world, this event annually attracts large crowds of Aucklanders to enjoy Pacific music, food, arts and dance.
- Auckland has existing international partnerships with Samoa, and the Cook Islands. The relationship between Auckland Council and Tonga will be formalised on this mission.
- New Zealand enjoys a very special relationship with the Pacific and our government is committed to strengthening ties with our closest neighbours.
- In September 2011, the 40th anniversary of the Pacific Islands Forum was held in Auckland, and provided an opportunity for Pacific Island leaders to work on shared goals for the social and economic well being of the region.
- The Pacific is an important market, with New Zealand’s exports growing at an average rate of approximately five per cent per year since 2000. For the year to December 2011, New Zealand exports to Samoa, Tonga, and the Cook Islands totalled approximately NZ$293m. New Zealand imports from these three countries totalled NZ$6 million for the same period.
- For the year ending January 2012, 126,367 New Zealanders visited the Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga.
- The Cook Islands will also host the 43rd meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum in August 2012.