Delamere ends successful China visit

  • John Delamare

Immigration Minister, Hon Tuariki Delamere, has ended his week-long trip to China, saying it has been hugely successful in its goal of promoting New Zealand as a trade, tourism, and educational destination.

Mr Delamere was particularly pleased with the efforts of the kapa haka group from Hoani School in west Auckland.

The ten teenagers performed at the opening of the New Zealand immigration Service visa office in Shanghai; at the opening of a New Zealand education fair in the city and with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, as well as at several other venues.

"They generated massive publicity for New Zealand in the Shanghai media - which serves more than 18 million people - publicity we simply could not afford to buy," he says.

"On the business front, it is apparent that China is moving rapidly towards becoming the economic giant of Asia. I agree with associate Immigration Minister, Dr Lockwood Smith, and his recent call for immigration to be regarded as an economic driver for New Zealand, and not merely a sub-branch of the Labour Department with an emphasis on keeping people out of the country.

"In my talks with the municipal authorities of Shanghai, and in Beijing with the Minister of Education and the Vice-Minister of the Public Security Bureau, it is clear that China is keen on beefing up its trade and tourism relationships with New Zealand.

"I believe New Zealand must grasp the opportunities that are being presented by China. These include welcoming more tourists from the increasingly affluent population and making sure that the education we offer their children is of as high a quality as possible.," said the Minister.

Mr Delamere returns to New Zealand on Wednesday.