When PM Ardern, Minister O’Connor and the business and media delegation visited Singapore it marked the first official overseas visit for two years. The fact that PM Ardern made Singapore her first stop speaks to the value New Zealand places on the bilateral relationship between our two countries. She also brought trade minister, Damien O’Connor, and a high-level business delegation.
Meeting virtually has helped us get through the pandemic, but nothing beats face-to-face contact, and the PM’s visit was a clear signal that New Zealand is open for business (and has been open for travellers from Singapore since 2 May). There were many memorable moments, but for the team here at the New Zealand High Commission, this is what really stood out:
- PM Ardern having substantive bilateral discussions with PM Lee at the Istana, and having an orchid named after her
- The addition of a comprehensive ‘Climate Change and Green Economy’ pillar to the Enhanced Partnership
- The unveiling of the imposing 800 kilo ‘kūwaha’ (carved doorway) created by the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute and now installed at the Gardens by the Bay Cloud Forest
PM Ardern with one of the carvers of the kūwaha and cultural performers from New Zealand Māori Arts & Crafts Institute (Te Puia)In particular, the new pillar sets up a significant programme of work to cooperate in a number of areas where we have mutual interests and complementary expertise/strengths. Initiatives under the ‘Climate Change and Green Economy’ pillar include:
- A Memorandum of Arrangement on Sustainable Aviation
- A regular climate change policy dialogue between officials of both sides
- Jointly providing capacity building training on carbon markets to ASEAN countries
- Information exchange on policy and technology perspectives on low-carbon shipping and de-carbonisation
- Knowledge-sharing dialogues on waste management technology and strategy
It certainly has been a busy first half of the year, but none of it would have been possible without the support of our New Zealand community here in Singapore. A very big thank you to everyone for helping us make the PM’s visit a success.