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Alok Sharma visits New Zealand

Alok Sharma will arrive in Auckland today as the first UK minister to visit New Zealand since the EU referendum.

Mr Sharma will meet Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, Foreign Minister Murray McCully and Trade Minister Todd McClay, emphasising the importance of the UK’s relationship with New Zealand in trade and investment, prosperity and security.

He will make a keynote address at the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds – the annual meeting of 30 sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) that collectively manage 80% of all assets managed by SWFs. He will also meet senior CEOs representing major UK companies and investors and the British New Zealand Business Association (BNZBA) to discuss trade and investment opportunities.

The Minister will hold a roundtable discussion with community representatives of the Pacific Island groups to hear from them about Auckland and New Zealand as a Pacific city and hub, as well as opportunities to work with the UK on issues like good governance and climate change. Mr Sharma will emphasise the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme and discuss the challenges facing Pacific economies with Shane Jones, New Zealand’s Ambassador for Pacific Development.

On Armistice Day (Friday 11 November), Mr Sharma will lay a wreath at Auckland War Memorial Park to commemorate all those who lost their lives in the First World War and in conflicts around the world.

Minister for Asia and the Pacific Alok Sharma said:

I am delighted to be visiting New Zealand. The UK and New Zealand are like-minded friends, key Commonwealth partners and global leaders, who continue to play a central role on the issues that matter.

As the first UK Minister to visit New Zealand since the European referendum, I look forward to discussing the many opportunities that lie ahead for the UK and New Zealand. The UK is the third largest foreign direct investor in New Zealand and their fifth largest trading partner. We are open for business, and the UK is the natural place for New Zealanders to visit, study, invest and trade.

During his visit, Mr Sharma will also meet a number of Auckland MPs and the recently elected Mayor of Auckland, Phil Goff.

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