Prompted by healthy developments in ASEAN-New Zealand relations, the 13th Joint Management Committee (JMC), held at the ASEAN Secretariat today decided to upgrade the JMC into a Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) and revised the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the JCC. The new TOR provides an enhanced framework for the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) and the Ambassador of New Zealand to ASEAN to interact and collaborate to bring about mutual prosperity and benefits. It will be adopted ad referendum and submitted to the Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) + 1 with New Zealand in July 2012 for notation.

The Meeting convened at an opportune time after the adoption of Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration for ASEAN-New Zealand Comprehensive partnership (2010-2015) and the visit of the PM of New Zealand to the ASEC in April 2012.

Co-chaired by H.E. Dato Ambassador Hazhudin Hamzah, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to ASEAN, and H.E. Mr. David Taylor, New Zealand Ambassador to ASEAN, the meeting also included an implementation review of the four flagship projects which are being undertaken under the framework of the Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration for ASEAN-New Zealand Comprehensive partnership (2010-2015).ASEAN appreciates the assistance and support of New Zealand in these four flag ship projects and encouraged New Zealand to continue its support and assistance to ASEAN.

ASEAN is additionally encouraged by concrete developments in the ASEAN-New Zealand Scholarships Programme (which would provide 170 scholarships annually for the next five years), a Young Business Leaders Exchange Programme, and programmes on Disaster Risk Management and Agricultural Diplomacy.

The Meeting provided an important venue for ASEAN and New Zealand to exchange ideas on regional and international issues of mutual concern. Preparations for the forthcoming PMC+1 with New Zealand are also discussed.

The next meeting of the ASEAN-New Zealand JCC will be convened in early 2013 and will be co-chaired by the Lao PDR as the incoming Country Coordinator for ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue Relations and the Ambassador of New Zealand to ASEAN.