By Adrian Littlewood, New Zealand Co-Chair of the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum
In two days, more than 200 senior Australian and New Zealand business leaders and nine Government Ministers will meet in Sydney to identify ways to further improve the trans-Tasman relationship. The meeting will coincide with the Australian and New Zealand Government’s annual CER/Single Economic Market meeting.
While much cooperation has been achieved between our two countries over the years, the 2016 Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum meeting intends to look ahead at the forces that will shape our trans-Tasman relationship in years to come – to identify and then pursue policy goals and initiatives that would benefit both countries.
Since the Forum last met in February 2015, five sectors have been identified in which there are significant opportunities for closer trans-Tasman collaboration: infrastructure; tourism; agri-business; health technology; and innovation. Trans-Tasman business leaders have been working together in the lead-up to this year’s Forum, identifying what can be achieved on three levels: business to business; business to government; and government to government. We have also been busy identifying the best timeframes for those achievements ̶ what’s realistically possible within a year, within one to three years, and within three to five years. In so far as the agri-business sector, our efforts are very much focused on achieving a common trans-Tasman approach to non-tariff barriers which impact on Australian and New Zealand agricultural exports to overseas markets. We will also be discussing potential new areas for trans-Tasman collaboration, such as in the indigenous business sector.
This Friday it’s time to once-again further deepen the trans-Tasman relationship and business leaders on both sides of the Tasman are stepping forward to help lead this change. We are delighted that so many Government Ministers will attend and participate in the Forum meeting – this shows the strong level of government commitment, on both sides of the Tasman.