26 March 2015 – The Philippines participation in the 22nd ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue held Auckland, New Zealand from February 25 to 26. Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand Virginia H. Benavidez led the Philippine delegation.
The Dialogue was co-chaired by Lao Foreign Affairs Vice Minister Alounkeo Kittikhoun, and New Zealand Acting Chief Executive Officer of Foreign Affairs and Trade Craig Hawke. Representatives from all ASEAN Member States at the Senior Officials Meeting and Director-General levels, as well as representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat attended the dialogue.
The participants discussed the future direction of the ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue cooperation, taking into account the ASEAN post-2015 priorities, and potentials and interests of both sides.
Mr. Hawke, New Zealand Head of Delegation, opened the 22nd ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue by stating that ASEAN is in the forefront of New Zealand foreign policy. He observed that significant strides have been made in the relations and that a sense of history plays a crucial part in moving the relations forward. He noted that the dialogue is a platform for New Zealand’s thinking on how to make the impact of future endeavors mutually beneficial for New Zealand and ASEAN. As this year celebrates the 40th Anniversary of ASEAN-New Zealand relations, Mr. Hawke stated New Zealand is looking to “refresh, reset, and modernize” ASEAN-New Zealand relations.
The Dialogue noted with satisfaction the progress of the Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration for ASEAN-New Zealand Comprehensive Partnership (2010-2015) and the New Zealand's Four Flagship Initiatives, namely Disaster Risk Management, New Zealand-ASEAN Scholars, Agricultural Diplomacy, and Young Business Leaders Initiative (YBLI). ASEAN and New Zealand look forward to the finalization of the next ASEAN-New Zealand Plan of Action 2016-2020, which is expected to be launched at the ASEAN-New Zealand Commemorative Summit, to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Dialogue Relations, in November in Malaysia. The Dialogue also touched upon preparations for the Summit as well as its key deliverables.
Representatives from all ASEAN member states were unanimous in stating how ASEAN and New Zealand relations continue to progress well in all areas. They agreed that New Zealand has proven to be a good friend to ASEAN and that it has contributed significantly to ASEAN’s efforts in narrowing the development gap within ASEAN.
Ambassador Benavidez welcomed New Zealand’s expansion of its key initiatives in ASEAN, in view of the 40th Anniversary of the ASEAN-New Zealand dialogue relations this year and the 2015 reference date for ASEAN integration into one community. She said that ASEAN’s focus on synergy with New Zealand’s strategies and expertise sustain current projects and chart future initiatives for mutual benefit.
Indonesia, as the upcoming country coordinator for the ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue Relations, will host the 23rd ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue in 2016.
As part of the programmes to showcase New Zealand’s beautiful sceneries and iconic products, a visit to Waiheke Island capped the delegates’ productive and meaningful meeting. Ambassador Benavidez, Minister Counsellor Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa and the rest of the Philippine delegation expressed their deep appreciation to Mr. Hawke and the New Zealand Ministry officials for the excellent arrangements, warm reception and gracious hospitality extended during the 22nd ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue. END