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Newstalk

18.56 12 Nov 2018


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The deputy prime minister of New Zealand Winston Peters has attended the opening of his country's embassy in Dublin.

It is New Zealand's first resident embassy here.

Mr Peters has also held talks with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as part of his visit.

He will also meet Tánaiste Simon Coveney, and deliver a speech to the Institute of International and European Affairs.

Opening the embassy, Mr Peters said: "Ireland and New Zealand are already close friends but our new diplomatic post will strengthen connections and further develop the relationship.

"As small island nations committed to democracy, the rule of law and free and open trade, we look forward to working well together".

"The embassy in Dublin will also foster New Zealand's trading interests in Europe.

"New Zealand has a lot at stake in its relations with Europe and people on the ground in Dublin makes sense as Europe's architecture evolves, following the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU".

New Zealand's first resident ambassador to Ireland is Mr Brad Burgess.

'Strengthening links'

Attending the opening ceremony, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said: "Relations between our two countries have always been close.

"I believe the state visit to New Zealand by President Higgins last year demonstrates our interest in strengthening our links with you, and of course on personal levels, links have always been strong, given the number of Irish emigrants to your country, both over the years and more recently.

"As island nations, Ireland and New Zealand have much in common.

"We have similar views and work together on trying to address pressing global challenges at a time when they are perhaps greater than in many decade.

"We also work with each other to improve our bilateral trade, investment, tourism and cultural links."

As part of President Higgins' visit to New Zealand last year, it was announced that Ireland will also establish an embassy there.

Currently, Ireland is represented in New Zealand by the Irish embassy in Canberra, Australia.

Ireland also has a consulate-general in Auckland.

Irish-NZ trade

Trade between Ireland and New Zealand is growing. It was worth NZD$509m (€304.6m) in the year to June 2018.

While in 2015, the latest figures available from New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the top exports were butter and other dairy - along with frozen fish.

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.


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