New Zealand Embassy, Moscow, Russian Federation

ITAR-TASS interview with New Zealand Prime Minister: New Zealand and Russia have friendly relations

Wednesday, 29/7/09

New Zealand and Russia have long-standing friendly relations established during the Second World War. They are characterized by close contacts between the people of our two countries, pointed out John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand, in his interview to the ITAR-TASS correspondent Dmitry Reshetilov on 24 July 2009.

QUESTION: This year is a special one – as it is 65 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and New Zealand. How do you assess current relations between the two countries?

ANSWER: New Zealand and Russia have long-standing friendly relations established during the Second World War. They are characterised by close people-to-people contacts. At present about 15000 Russians live in New Zealand. Your country is an important market for New Zealand, and we would welcome further development of our trade links on a mutually beneficial basis. Implementation of joint research projects in the Antarctic also presents interest.

I had an opportunity to meet Russian president Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev during the recent APEC summit in Peru.

QUESTION: What spheres do you think are the most promising for the development of our bilateral relations?

ANSWER: I would single out tourism as one of the most promising areas. As far as I know, New Zealanders have a great interest in your country’s culture and history and would like to visit the country, particularly Moscow and Saint Petersburg. I am sure that for many Russians New Zealand is an attractive and interesting tourism destination, and even the geographic distance between our two countries is not an obstacle for them to visit my country.

As to economic aspects of the bilateral cooperation, investments are a very promising sphere. As an example, I would like to quote the experience of a large Russian company Nutritek that is with great success operating in New Zealand’s dairy sector.

I believe that agriculture presents great opportunities for fruitful cooperation. The Russian market has capacity for New Zealand agricultural products, in particular, meat and dairy products and fruit.

QUESTION: Do you have plans to visit Russia in your overseas travel schedule?

ANSWER: I would be happy to visit Russia but cannot give you any specific timing for such a visit.

QUESTION: What would you like to wish Russians?

ANSWER: I would like to wish all the best to the Russian people, and wish them to successfully overcome the effects of the global financial and economic crisis. I am certain that only through common efforts by the international community as a whole we can succeed in this. I have no doubts that our bilateral relations will continue to be stable and will get stronger from year to year.

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