Ministers welcome Perceptions of Asia study

Wednesday 17 February 2010, 8:49AM
By Pansy Wong

Ministers Groser and Wong welcome the release of the Perceptions of Asia study 2009, an annual survey of public attitudes towards Asia and Asian people by the Asia New Zealand Foundation (Asia:NZ).

Mrs Wong says it is very encouraging that over 70 per cent of those surveyed felt that Asian people contribute significantly to New Zealand society and that Asian immigrants bring valuable cultural diversity to New Zealand.

"The results of this survey are extremely pleasing. 62 per cent of those surveyed have regular contact with Asian people which is important because personal contact increases the level of positive perception. This is the key to positive attitudes," said Mrs Wong.

Mr Groser says the survey also showed that New Zealanders feel very positive about Asia as an export market with significant opportunities for New Zealand exporters from free trade agreements between New Zealand and Asian countries.

"Asia has never been a more important economic partner for New Zealand. We are a small export-driven and trade dependent economy - the source of much of our current and future prosperity lies with the entrenchment of New Zealand as an economic partner in Asia.

"Our existing free trade agreements with countries such as China contribute significantly to New Zealand's growth and encourage contact with Asian peoples. It is very pleasing that New Zealanders feel so positive about trade with Asia," said Mr Groser.

Mrs Wong says the continued improvement in positive perception of the contribution Asian New Zealanders bring to New Zealand is a reflection of the good work of the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

"The Asia New Zealand Foundation's does excellent work to promote and build profiles for Asian festivals like Diwali and the Chinese Lantern Festival which encourages non-Asian New Zealanders to connect with Asian culture and people in a positive way," said Mrs Wong.