New Zealand Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia

The Ambassador's Blog: When Marty met Murray (take 2)

The two Foreign Ministers meet in Auckland

From the Ambassador's blog:


At the beginning of last year I wrote a blog on the 2012 annual meeting of the Indonesian and New Zealand foreign ministers here in Jakarta.  The latest meeting took place in Auckland on 31 October 2013, following officials talks the preceding day.

The narrative for 2013 was even better than in 2012.

Ministers welcomed intensified high-level engagement over the year, with 15 Ministerial visits in both directions and other senior official contact also.

New Zealand had followed through on undertakings to lift its engagement in Jakarta, including through the appointment of a resident Trade Commissioner, an Education New Zealand representative and a team of Tourism New Zealand staff.   Approvals had also been obtained to appoint an Agriculture Counsellor in 2014 to the post.  Indonesia also welcomed New Zealand’s initiative to appoint of Honorary Consuls in Surabaya and Bali (we hope these people will be confirmed in the role early this year).

Ministers pointed to progress made to implement new relationship architecture, including agreements on agriculture, education, geothermal and police cooperation.  Some further areas were highlighted for new agreements and work is proceeding on those.   Our aid programme contribution was welcomed – we spend up to NZ$20 million per year on agreed priorities, though there’s a lot of design work under way at present.

Both Ministers readily agreed we needed better connectivity between the two nations.  Air New Zealand has announced a substantial increase in capacity and a further lengthening of its seasonal service from Auckland to Bali (this helped lift New Zealand arrivals in Bali in 2012 to around 49,000 – I expect the 2013 figure will be even higher).  Discussions with Garuda about resumption of a direct Jakarta to Auckland service have continued, with CEO level discussions in Jakarta between the airline, Tourism New Zealand and Auckland International Airport soon after the Ministerial discussions.

Ministers also agreed we needed to continue to make strong progress across all areas of the relationship and will do a stocktake in future of areas outlined and what’s been achieved.  As Indonesia’s Ambassador-designate Jose Tavares observed at the time, “I’ve got my homework already”.  I share his view.  While we’ve made good progress together much remains to be done to realise the potential in the relationship.

New Zealand continued to push for stronger economic connections and to find ways to facilitate trade and investment, including repeating our suggestion that Indonesia open a trade office in New Zealand.  Indonesia sought continued New Zealand support in areas like agriculture, geothermal energy and education, as well as enhanced investment.

The metrics are moving steadily in the right direction, be they around trade, visitor arrivals in both directions, or students coming to New Zealand.  But there’s a lot more potential to be mined on both sides in this relationship.  All involved need to keep working hard.  The results mean jobs in both countries and even stronger and deeper ties.

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