New Zealand Embassy Santiago, Chile
Prime Minister of New Zealand in Chile: Strengthening ties between friends
After visiting Mexico and Colombia, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Rt Hon John Key, arrived along with the delegation in Santiago on 7 March. The Royal New Zealand Air Force plane landed with a beautiful orange sky as backdrop and was received by a Chilean guard with a formal welcome.
The Prime Minister and officials departed immediately to Government Palace, La Moneda, for the official meeting with President Sebastian Piñera (photos on our Facebook page).
On the 8th, NZTE and the Chilean Institute for Rational Business Administration (ICARE) organised business activities at Casa Piedra event centre. The speeches by Chile Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno and the Prime Minister focused on the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations (TPP) and the benefits a successful outcome to this process would bring New Zealand and Chile. Later, Rt Hon John Key departed to the New Zealand Embassy while the business delegation stayed at Casa Piedra to hold meetings with their Chilean counterparts. At the Embassy, the Prime Minister greeted the staff while he visited the facilities, and met with Latam Airlines group. He also gave interviews to Chilean media before departing to an informal networking lunch at the Official Residence. Later in the afternoon, the Chilean Minister for Education, Mr Harald Beyer, and the Minister for Economy, Development and Tourism, Mr Pablo Longueira, met with the Prime Minister at the residence. As a result of their talks, it was announced that the programme “Penguins without Borders” was expecting to send 100 Chilean high school students during the next exchange program in the upcoming 2013 semester. The goal is to send 500 students to New Zealand every six months. Additionally, a video from the current “penguins” in Auckland was shown to all attendees, which included a number of Chileans educated in New Zealand. In the video, the “penguins” spoke about the good time they were having with the “kiwis”.
Later, the Prime Minister and official delegation visited the O’Higgins monument to lay a wreath in honour of Chile’s independence leader. The Chilean band welcomed them by playing the New Zealand anthem while the flag was being hoisted.
At night, the Prime Minister and the New Zealand delegation were invited to a State Dinner at La Moneda. The beautiful rooms at the Government Palace were the perfect venue for New Zealanders to mingle with Chilean dignitaries and business leaders.
On Saturday morning, the plane departed to Puerto Montt where a visit to the model dairy farm run by Soprole –a Chilean company owned by Fonterra– was scheduled in order to understand and strengthen the collaboration between New Zealand and the Chilean agriculture sector. Later, the attendees enjoyed typical Chilean food and wines as well as a “cueca” dance performance. Prime Minister Key and the New Zealand delegation enjoyed the rest of the afternoon in a friendly environment.
The two leaders issued a joint statement in which they address the key themes in the bilateral relationship: agriculture, education and renewable energy. In addition to the Joint Statement, the two Leaders observed the signing of a re-freshed Cooperation Agenda in the agriculture sector by Minister Guy with his Chilean counterpart, Minister Luis Mayol. This document has a focus on economic cooperation and investment, education and training, resource management, and science and innovation.
The leaders welcomed the forthcoming launch of the joint New Zealand-Chile international aid project to strengthen the Chilean agricultural training sector.
In terms of education, President Piñera noted the success of the pilot plan “Penguins without Borders”, a plan that allows high performing Chilean public high school students to spend two semesters in New Zealand and funded by the Chilean Ministry for the Economy. An increase in the number of students was a highlight.
Both leaders underlined the importance of a successful outcome of the Trans Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP) as a vehicle to promote further economic integration in the Asia Pacific region.
President Piñera expressed his desire to encourage further development of commercially viable geothermal energy in Chile. The leaders committed to maintaining the current level of exchange and expertise between New Zealand and Chile in this area. Recognising the success of the first Energy Cooperation Programme (2011-2012), they welcomed the agreement on the second programme for 2013 and 2014.