New Zealand to open embassy in Dublin

Exports between the two countries were worth over €255m last year

New Zealand to open embassy in Dublin

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan (left) and New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully at Iveagh House in Dublin | Image: Department of Foreign Affairs/Rollingnews.ie

New Zealand has announced plans to open its first embassy in Ireland.

At present, the country is represented here by the New Zealand High Commission in London.

However, there is a New Zealand Honorary Consulate-General in the capital.

In 2015, New Zealand exported NZD$52.1m (€33.8m) worth of goods to Ireland - the top exports were butter and other dairy, along with frozen fish.

While Ireland exported NZD$222.1m (€144.1m) worth of goods to New Zealand - the majority of which was made up of crude oil.

Ireland also welcomed 32,000 tourists from New Zealand in 2015.

An estimated 14,000 Irish-born people live in New Zealand, while approximately one-in-six New Zealanders claim Irish heritage - out of a total population of 4.7 million.

New Zealand's successful hosting of the 2011 Rugby World Cup is also seen as a blueprint for Ireland's 2023 bid.

Ireland's Rugby World Cup Oversight Board Bid Director, Kevin Potts, said: "New Zealand inspired us to bid for this. We see our tournament not just being for seven million people on the island but see it as being a tournament of 77 million Irish people around the world including our Diaspora."

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan (left) and New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully exchange rugby jerseys at Iveagh House, Dublin in January 2017 | Image: Department of Foreign Affairs/Rollingnews.ie

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said: "I am delighted that New Zealand has decided to open an embassy in Dublin. My New Zealand counterpart, Murray McCully, visited Dublin in January and we discussed the possibility of a new embassy.

"The positive decision just taken by the New Zealand government testifies to the ever growing political, economic and cultural links between our two countries." 

Minister Flanagan said: "The most important bond between us is our people.

"There is a great geographic distance between our two countries but that has never stopped our citizens travelling from one side of the world to the other in search of employment, trade or educational opportunities, or, of course, family connections.

"We are now bidding to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup and I know that if we are successful, we will see a surge in visitors from the great rugby nations of the southern hemisphere."

Mr Flanagan also confirmed that "active consideration" is being given opening a new mission in New Zealand.

Ireland is currently represented in New Zealand by the Irish embassy in Canberra, Australia. But we do have an honorary consul based in Auckland.