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Murray McCully

16 May, 2012

McCully announces embassy closure

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully today announced the closure of the Stockholm embassy in Sweden as part of $10 million of savings in the Ministry’s European posts.

The Stockholm post was opened by the Clark government in 2008 and downsized by the current government in 2009.

“New Zealand enjoys an excellent relationship with Sweden and with its Scandinavian neighbours, but in today’s world it is not always necessary to have a diplomatic presence to maintain such a relationship,” Mr McCully says.

“Sweden does not have an embassy in New Zealand and I am confident that we can manage the relationship through an accreditation.”

The closure will be accompanied by other economies that will save about $10 million per year among New Zealand's European posts, including moving into less expensive accommodation.

“The move is part of a series of decisions that will enable the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to meet the government’s expectations of a $24 million efficiency dividend and then manage within a flatline budget for the next two years.

“In turn, this has triggered a resource reallocation based upon change to New Zealand’s current and future foreign policy and trade priorities.”

In addition to making a formal decision regarding Stockholm, Cabinet has been briefed on the modified change programme for the Ministry.

“Over the coming days the Chief Executive will formally release a decision document to staff that responds to the feedback he has received on the original change proposal. The proposal has been significantly amended to take into account concerns raised during the consultation process,” Mr McCully says.

“On 21 March I released a letter I wrote to the Chief Executive setting out concerns held by ministers in relation to the original proposal. These concerns have been addressed by the Ministry’s leadership team in the preparation of the final decision document.

“I have made it clear the final package will need to provide a structure capable of attracting and retaining capable staff while modernising and shaping the management tier of the Ministry to meet New Zealand’s current and future needs,” Mr McCully says.

 

Note: Attached is a summary of background material provided to Cabinet on offshore footprint issues.

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