Releases -

By Newsroom America Feeds at 8 Mar 2018


/////////////////////////////////////////// Foreign Affairs Under-Secretary to travel to Chile, Peru, and Colombia

Posted: 08 Mar 2018 07:18 PM PST

Foreign Affairs Parliamentary Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau is travelling to Latin America this week. He will represent New Zealand at the inauguration of the President-elect of Chile, Sebastian Piñera, and formally open New Zealand’s Embassy in Colombia. “I look forward to representing New Zealand at the President’s inauguration this weekend and meeting a wide range of senior political figures from across Latin America,” says Mr Tabuteau. “The opportunities for New Zealand in Latin America are exciting and we are looking to strengthen our relations in the region,” he says. Mr Tabuteau will also travel to Peru to meet the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Congressional Peru-New Zealand League, and to speak at the Pacific Alliance Observatory at the University of the Pacific. He will then travel to Bogotá, Colombia to formally open New Zealand’s newest Embassy, and undertake political consultations with the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs. “Our new Embassy in Colombia shows we are committed to deepening our engagement with the region,” Mr Tabuteau says. ENDS Contacts: Talani Meikle, Ministerial Adviser, 021 195 4309

/////////////////////////////////////////// New Joint Ministerial Statement on Closer Defence Relations with Australia

Posted: 08 Mar 2018 05:47 PM PST

Minister of Defence Ron Mark has today met with his Australian counterpart Senator Marise Payne in Wellington for the annual Defence Ministers’ Meeting. “New Zealand and Australia have a very close Defence relationship,” says Mr Mark. “This is currently on display in Papua New Guinea where New Zealand and Australian Defence personnel are working hard to deliver aid to the earthquake stricken highlands, and in all the deployments around the world where we stand side by side”. “Today’s meeting was a great opportunity to discuss shared security concerns, and to explore ways to work better together. Today, as alliance partners, we are also releasing an updated Joint Statement on Closer Defence Relations. “The statement acknowledges our mutual commitment to working side-by-side effectively and efficiently for our shared security interests, and sets out the guiding principles that underline our partnership. It also reiterates our commitment to the South Pacific and our close friends in the region,” says Mr Mark. Refreshed Closer Defence Relations between New Zealand and Australia will follow six principles: We are sovereign, independent states working together both regionally and globally for our mutual security. We share an interest in promoting and projecting a region that is secure, open and prosperous, with a particular focus on our cooperation in South Pacific; Our defence and security partnership is open, based on mutual respect, and enduring; We will work together to deliver capability in the most cost-effective way; We will develop and harness the skills of our people and to enhance cooperation; and We will focus on, and commit resources to, practical collaborative activities to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. The statement can be found here

/////////////////////////////////////////// Rare bat on the road to recovery

Posted: 08 Mar 2018 02:00 PM PST

One of New Zealand’s rare bats is on its way to recovery after successful large-scale predator control in Fiordland, according to a new science report released by Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage today. The New Zealand Threat Classification System report on the conservation status of New Zealand bats updates the last review in 2012. The most significant change is the move of southern short-tailed bat from ‘threatened’ to ‘recovering’, largely due to DOC’s sustained control of rats, possums and stoats in its last mainland habitat, Ms Sage said. “Numbers of short-tailed bats in the Eglinton valley in Fiordland National Park have steadily grown from about 300 to more than 3000 since predator control began more than a decade ago.” The Eglinton is the last known South Island mainland site for this bat subspecies, which is also found on pest-free Whenua Hou/Codfish Island. The population of long-tailed bats in the Eglinton is also growing at a similar rate. The picture is not as good for bats in other areas, particularly the North Island, Ms Sage says. “The status of our North Island long-tailed bats has worsened since 2012 and they are now grouped with their South Island counterparts in the highest threat category of ‘nationally critical’.” Previously the North Island long-tailed bat was assessed separately as being in a lower threat category but new genetic research has confirmed just one species. The new threat assessment confirms that where bat forest habitat is safe and predators are suppressed, our only native land mammals can recover. “Yet in many areas populations of both bat species continue to decline due to the threat of rats, stoats, possums and cats, and clearance of lowland forest and large old trees where bats roost.” The effects of wasps and potential effect of kauri dieback on roost trees is also of concern. New Zealand has two species of bats—the long-tailed bat and short-tailed bat, of which there are three subspecies. A third species—the greater short-tailed bat—is thought to be extinct. The threat status of the central and northern short-tailed bat subspecies (found in the central and northern North Island) remains the same as in 2012—both are declining. Bats can fly up to 30 kilometres from their roosting areas to forage and a colony range over more than 100 square kilometres. This can make them seem more numerous than they actually are. Further information DOC administers the New Zealand Threat Classification System, which draws on expertise from the wider science and conservation community. Conservation status of New Zealand bats:

/////////////////////////////////////////// Young women urged to make their voices heard

Posted: 08 Mar 2018 01:34 PM PST

Make your voice heard because no country can truly prosper without you, is the message Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has given to female school students on International Women’s Day at the opening of new buildings at Tereora College in the Cook Islands. “Across the Pacific we still have some way to go towards achieving gender equality. This is as true in New Zealand as it is for our Pacific neighbours,” Jacinda Ardern said. “This lack of equality is holding everyone back. The sooner we release that these are not just issues that impact on women the better. No country can truly prosper if half its population is not celebrated and fully empowered. “To the young women out there I would like to say - make your voice heard. Women need to be heard and recognised across the economy and community but especially in governance and decision-making across the Pacific and that starts with you. “Sitting before me in the audience today are the scientists, and teachers and doctors and business people of the future. Who knows? Maybe there is even a future Prime Minister out there who will go on to lead her country? “My hope for the future is that, across the world and our region, we continue to make progress, so that all women and young girls can learn, prosper and grow, and live with dignity, equality and basic human rights,” Jacinda Ardern said. Due to time zones it is March 8 – International Women’s Day – in the Cook Islands.

/////////////////////////////////////////// New Zealand signs side letters curbing investor-state dispute settlement

Posted: 08 Mar 2018 11:00 AM PST

New Zealand has signed agreements to exclude compulsory investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) between them with five countries in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker said the agreements are “side letters” with the same treaty-level status as the Agreement. They were released alongside it this morning (NZ time) at a signing ceremony in Santiago, Chile. New Zealand has signed additional side letters with Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Peru and Viet Nam. New Zealand has also signed a side letter to exclude ISDS with Australia, the source of 80% of investment from the CPTPP nations into New Zealand. “I’m pleased we have been able to make so much progress in just a few months. We haven’t been able to get every country on board, but signing letters with this many CPTPP partners is a real achievement,” says Mr Parker. A further two countries, Canada and Chile, have joined New Zealand in a declaration that they will use investor-state dispute settlement responsibly. “This Joint Declaration is an acknowledgement of public concerns about ISDS. Along with Canada and Chile, we have pledged to work together to promote transparency.” The side letters and declaration add to work that had already narrowed the scope for investors to make ISDS claims under the CPTPP. For example, private companies cannot make ISDS claims under the CPTPP relating to investment contracts they have entered into with governments. “The investor-state dispute settlement mechanism had been one of our main concerns about the agreement,” says Mr Parker. “We have tackled it from several different directions. We have also made it clear that we will oppose including ISDS in any future free trade agreements involving New Zealand.” The terms of the side letters vary. Some exclude the use of ISDS between New Zealand and other countries entirely, while other side letters allow for arbitration to proceed only if the relevant Government agrees. The side letters and joint declaration will be available on the MFAT website at:

/////////////////////////////////////////// New Zealand sets out progressive and inclusive trade approach at CPTPP signing

Posted: 08 Mar 2018 10:33 AM PST

Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker has signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in Santiago, Chile. The Agreement brings together 11 countries whose combined economies make up 13.5 percent of world GDP – worth a combined US$10 trillion. “This is a fair deal for New Zealand,” says Mr Parker. “It gives our exporters new opportunities in key markets like Japan, it preserves the unique status of the Treaty of Waitangi, and it protects the Government’s right to regulate in the public interest.” Alongside the Agreement, New Zealand has also joined Canada and Chile in issuing a Joint Declaration on fostering progressive and inclusive trade. “It’s great to see growing international acknowledgement and understanding that we need trade that works for everyone,” Mr Parker says. “Our countries are committed to making sure the benefits of trade and investment are broadly shared and we will be working together to achieve this.” The declaration affirms the right of each country to regulate to achieve legitimate public policy objectives, in such areas as health, safety and the environment. It also includes commitments to work together through trade policies on sustainable development, climate action, gender equality, indigenous rights and minimum work standards. “We recognise that trade can be a force for good around the world, for example by raising environmental and labour standards, or enforcing commitments to reform fisheries subsidies. “We expect CPTPP to make a meaningful contribution to progressive and inclusive trade in the future. And together with Canada and Chile we intend to ensure the promise of CPTPP is delivered on for workers, families, farmers, businesses and consumers.” The signing of the CPTPP is another important step for the agreement, which will enter into force after it has been ratified by six countries.

The 11 countries involved in the CPTPP are New Zealand, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, and Viet Nam. More information on the CPTPP, including the full legal text and a National Interest Analysis, is available at Attached: CPTPP Ministerial Statement

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