CHRISTCHURCH, 23 March 2017 – The ASEAN and New Zealand strategic partnership continues to be strengthened through closer cooperation and collaboration. The importance of this partnership was reaffirmed by Senior Officials from both sides when they met in Christchurch, New Zealand, yesterday for the 24th ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue.

New Zealand is one of ASEAN’s earliest partners with ties established since 1975. The partnership has broadened and grown in scope over the years. Beyond the strong political, security, economic and socio-cultural links, people-to-people ties have also grown.

The 24th Dialogue expressed satisfaction with the progress of the implementation of the ASEAN-New Zealand Plan of Action (2016-2020), adopted in 2015. This Plan, which provides the broad framework for ASEAN-New Zealand cooperation over five years, also supports ASEAN’s community building and integration efforts.

Both sides acknowledged the good economic ties they presently enjoy, but agreed to go further by ensuring that the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area Agreement, due for review in June 2017, remained modern and high quality. ASEAN and New Zealand also agreed on the need to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership expeditiously but not at the expense of securing a high quality agreement.

New Zealand reiterated its support for ASEAN’s central role in the regional architecture. ASEAN encouraged New Zealand to continue its active participation in regional mechanisms such as the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus. The officials also discussed recent regional and international developments.

The Dialogue was co-chaired by Jose Tavares, Director-General for ASEAN, Indonesian Foreign Ministry, and Brook Barrington, Chief Executive of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand, and attended by senior representatives from ASEAN Members States and the ASEAN Secretariat.