Australian High Commission
New Zealand

High Commissioner: Australia-New Zealand Leadership Forum Welcome Reception

Australia-New Zealand Leadership Forum Welcome Reception

Remarks by Her Excellency Harinder Sidhu, Australian High Commissioner to New Zealand

Te Papa Museum, Wellington

Tuesday 18 July 2023


E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, e rau rangatira ma

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa


Good evening and welcome

I would like at the outset to acknowledge and pay my respects to ngā iwi Māori, as the tangata whenua of Aotearoa.

I also acknowledge and pay respects to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as the custodians of all the lands from which we come in Australia, and their elders past, present and emerging.

I extend my respect to all people of Māori or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage present here this evening.


I acknowledge the Honourable Nanaia Mahuta, Foreign Minister of New Zealand – tēnā koe, Minister

The Honourable Damien O’Connor, Minister for Trade and Minister for Agriculture; the Honourable Rino Tirikatene, Minister of State for Trade and Export growth

And Senator the Honourable Tim Ayres, Assistant Minister for Trade and Assistant Minister for Manufacturing for Australia

Senator Jana Stewart, Senator for Victoria in the Australian Parliament

Pip Marlow and Greg Lowe, co-chairs of the ANZLF

Her Excellency, Dame Annette King, High Commissioner of New Zealand to Australia

Dignitaries, delegates, ladies and gentlemen


As others before me have noted, this is a very significant year for the Trans-Tasman relationship.

Forty years ago, we had the foresight and boldness to encapsulate our economic ambition in the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Agreement – the CER.

What we did in 1983 was groundbreaking. We brought to life an audacious idea – that two countries as close as Australia and New Zealand should remove as many barriers as possible to our economic integration.

We built on this ambition with the creation of a Single Economic Market.

And what we see today is the result of that ambition.

Two countries that have a uniquely close relationship.

Australia is today New Zealand’s second-largest trading partner, and largest source of foreign direct investment by a large margin.

New Zealand is likewise a significant economic partner for us – our 8th largest export market and fourth largest destination for investment.

What those numbers don’t show is all the other benefits that flow to us both. The fact, for example, that the Single Economic Market provides a foundation for businesses to learn to export by first going across the Tasman, before going further afield.

And I’m delighted that the ANZLF is helping foster stronger links between our First Nations peoples and Indigenous business in both countries..

Because it’s more than numbers. It’s about the links between our people.

Today, 700,000 New Zealanders now call Australia home – courtesy of the Trans Tasman Travel Arrangement, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary.

And under new provisions which came into effect on 1 July this year, they have access to a direct pathway to citizenship, linking our two countries even closer together.

So it is fitting that we all gather in Wellington this week to mark this significant anniversary.

But this is also an occasion to look forward to the future.

Forty years on, we are living in a world that is changing around us. Trade rules are being challenged.  Security and economic issues are becoming much more intertwined.

And climate change is affecting the shape and direction of economic development, in our own countries and also in the Pacific where we live.

As leaders of business, government and civil society , we all have a responsibility to consider the larger picture, rather than tinkering around the edges.

We need to consider how we need to respond to protect our future prosperity and security, for the sake of our people and our countries.

I’m pleased to see that this year’s ANZLF program provides scope to explore these issues and to consider future action on the new challenges that are before us.

Our partnership has a way of solving problems creatively, boldly and which benefit both our countries.

I look forward to hearing the many new ideas which I expect will emerge from these discussions.  And I wish you all the best for tomorrow’s program.

No reira

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.