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Minister Cannon T.D. remarks at Irish Network of New Zealand Event

I want to thank your organisation for the work you do to enhance and grow the economic and business relationship between Ireland and New Zealand. I believe that there is great potential to grow this relationship between our two countries in the coming years to our mutual benefit.

I hope you share this view of our relationship and I appreciate that our Embassy in Canberra and the Honorary Consulate here in Auckland are committed to working closely with you to strengthen this relationship.

I believe that the Ireland-New Zealand relationship faces great opportunities and significant challenges in the coming months and years. There are also many challenges such as Brexit and the achievement of a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and New Zealand. But again with these challenges lie many opportunities for nimble and innovative economies such as ours.

2017 was an extraordinary year in our bilateral relationship. I am pleased to note that the number and profile of high level contacts between Ireland and New Zealand was unprecedented.

Of course, the visit to New Zealand and Australia by President Michael D Higgins and Mrs Sabina Higgins was without doubt the highlight of a very successful year.

Perhaps the clearest signal of how important our relationship with New Zealand is came with the announcement by the President that the Government intends to open a resident embassy in Wellington by the end of 2018.

Opening an embassy in New Zealand is part of a wider strategy by the government to increase our global footprint to help better optimise economic and political opportunities between Ireland and New Zealand.

In an equally welcome announcement, the New Zealand government announced its intention to open an embassy in Dublin. I particularly welcome this news.

Work is now ongoing with the aim of having the Embassy in Wellington open by the end of the year

The economic challenges facing small open economies like Ireland and New Zealand demand close cooperation between friends and like-minded nations.

Ireland and New Zealand share so much in common particularly when it comes to our approach to global issues such as sustainable development and global governance and issues such as those mediated by the United Nations.

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