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Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum

Wednesday 11 June 2008, 5:14PM

By Rt Hon Winston Peters

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WELLINGTON

Political and business heavyweights from both sides of the Tasman will meet in Wellington on Friday and Saturday for the annual Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today.

 

Prime Minister Helen Clark will attend the Forum dinner on Friday, while Ministers taking part include Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen, Trade Minister Phil Goff, and Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel.

 

Seven Australian ministers will be attending, including Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and Trade Minister Simon Crean.

 

“New Zealand’s relationship with Australia is extremely important and the attendance of politicians and business leaders from both sides of the Tasman is testimony to that," Mr Peters said.

 

“Our two countries work together very closely across a broad range of foreign, trade, aid, and security policy issues to promote shared interests, and to maximise our impact regionally and internationally.

 

“The Leadership Forum plays a major role in bringing together key stakeholders from business, government, academia, and the media to sustain and invigorate the relationship, and to explore its future development.

 

"A range of issues will be discussed this year, including development of the Single Economic Market; the environment; changing demographics in Australasia; and strategic opportunities and challenges in the Asia-Pacific.

 

“The forum also presents a great opportunity for delegates to meet, and hear the views of, members of the new Australian Government,” Mr Peters said.

 

The Forum is co-chaired by New Zealand’s John Allen (NZ Post Chief Executive) and Australia’s Rod McGeoch (Sky City Entertainment Group Chairman). It was established in 2004.