Final planning is underway for the fourth United States New Zealand Partnership Forum, a major event next month that will further strengthen New Zealand’s relationship with the United States.
The United States New Zealand 2011 Partnership Forum, to be held in Christchurch from 20-22 February, will focus on how the two countries can work together to address a range of global challenges, says NZUS Council Executive Director Stephen Jacobi.
Mr Jacobi described the Forum’s line-up of 120 delegates and sponsors as representing an impressive cross section of politicians, senior officials, business and community leaders. Senior representatives from the US Administration and Congress are expected to attend. A full list of the delegates will be released immediately prior to the commencement of the Forum.
“These are all people of considerable experience and influence that recognise the strong connections between our two countries, and the importance of us working together to achieve mutual economic, cultural, social and environmental goals.
“Last year was significant for relations between the United States and New Zealand – in particular with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit, the signing of the Wellington Declaration and progress in the negotiation of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) involving the two countries and seven others. The Partnership Forum is important for maintaining that momentum.”
Forum co-chairs from New Zealand will be former Prime Minister and current NZ US Council Chair Rt Hon James Bolger and former Deputy Prime Minister and Chair of NZ Post Hon Dr Michael Cullen.
Forum co-chairs from the United States will be former US Senator and Governor of Indiana Evan Bayh and former US Trade Representative Ambassador Susan Schwab.
Senator Bayh served as US Senator for Indiana from 1999 to 2011. He previously served two terms as the 46th Governor of Indiana from 1988 to 1997.
As former US Trade Representative Ambassador Schwab has been a leading figure in US trade policy. Ambassador Schwab currently sits on the board of a number of leading organizations including FedEx, Caterpillar, Boeing and the US Air Force Academy.
Mr Jacobi said the sponsors for the Forum represented the leading commercial interests in the relationship.
Fonterra Co-operative Group is the Forum’s platinum sponsor. Major New Zealand sponsors include the Canterbury Development Corporation, Westpac, Christchurch City Council and Telecom New Zealand along with Air New Zealand, Beef and Lamb New Zealand, Business NZ, Deloitte, Meat Industry Association, Medicines NZ, Tait Radio Communications and NZ Winegrowers.
Major sponsors of the US delegation include Time Warner and Tread Corporation along with Cargill, Kraft Foods, Lockheed Martin, the US Chamber of Commerce, the Commonwealth Bank and Pernod Ricard.
“The Forum will bring together an influential gathering of like-minded people – all keen on advancing the relationship between the countries. Trade and investment will be an important focus but we are just as interested in ways of furthering other elements of the relationship – for example how we work together on transnational issues like climate change, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.”
“The discussions at the Forum are aimed at taking up Secretary Clinton’s challenge to “fill in the detail of what the Wellington Declaration might mean in practice” and shaping the direction of the relationship in the years ahead” concluded Mr Jacobi.