The third United States New Zealand Partnership Forum was held in Washington 6-8 October 2009. Delegates to this high level event discussed in roundtable format strategies for strengthening and deepening the partnership between the two countries. Attendance was by invitation only.
Organised by the US NZ Council and its New Zealand-based counterpart the NZ US Council, the event followed on from the success of the first and second Partnership Forums held in Washington DC in April 2006 and in Auckland in September 2007.
The two day Forum brought together leaders from American and New Zealand governments, businesses and academic institutions to discuss how the economic, political and personal ties between the two countries can be strengthened and developed to meet the challenges of today’s global economy.
The Washington event not only enabled participants to further their working relationships and business networks, but also enabled the New Zealand delegates to showcase the very best of New Zealand to their American counterparts.
Under the banner of “Trans Pacific Partnership: Deepening Engagement, Expanding Opportunities” the Forum focussed on ways in which the United States and New Zealand can increase cooperation and engagement on matters concerning regional security and stability, trade and economic development, energy and the environment in the Asia Pacific region.
The Forum was co-chaired by eminent leaders from both countries who are committed to furthering the relationship between the United States and New Zealand.
For the United States
For New Zealand
The United States and New Zealand are old friends in a new world. A common heritage and shared values underscore the importance of the bond that has been shared by these two nations for many years. Though half a world apart and with differing perspectives on some issues, the two countries are united in their pursuit of democratic ideals, the rule of law, the market economy, and a sustainable environment together with a mutual commitment to individual freedoms and fundamental human rights.
In April 2006 and again in September 2007 the first and second USNZ Partnership Forums brought together public and private sector leaders to examine key strategic and economic issues and opportunities. The Forums attracted high level attendance on both sides and the discussion was wide-ranging and candid.
The major focus at both Forums was the Asia Pacific region and new opportunities for both countries arising from the region’s significant growth. Participants left both Forums with a greater awareness of their shared interests that has contributed to the development of stronger and deeper ties between the two countries over recent years.
This year’s Forum took place against a far more challenging backdrop than those held in 2006 and 2007. The global economic crisis that has unfolded over the past two years has raised considerable challenges for both the US and New Zealand. Both have had to grapple with the consequences of a recessionary environment. Rising unemployment, economic uncertainty and increasing concern about climate change and future energy needs has caused concern among the peoples of both countries.
While the gravity of the economic crisis has required governments and business to focus almost inevitably on immediate concerns, the importance of developing enduring architecture that can promote long-term economic stability has been brought into sharp relief. As always in times of great challenge, there are many opportunities for both the US and New Zealand, working together and in the wider region, to move forward on a stronger and more sustainable footing.
The 2009 Forum once again focussed the attention of thought-leaders from both countries on ways in which these two countries with similar values but vastly different size and geography can work together to address today’s global challenges.
In a balanced, non-partisan atmosphere the Forum highlighted emerging opportunities and the scope for both countries to deepen their engagement to mutual benefit. The Forum facilitated the deepening of personal ties among those attending the event and served to motivate an already influential group of advocates from each country with a common agenda to promote closer relations between New Zealanders and Americans.
The Host Organisations
The US NZ Council headquartered in Washington, D.C. and its counterpart the NZ US Council headquartered in Auckland once again joined to organize this Forum.
The mission of the two Councils is to foster and strengthen US/NZ relations in all areas. Membership in the two Councils includes many of America and New Zealand’s leading corporations with trade, investment, financial and other commercial links between the two countries.