McKinnon Welcomes Asia 2000 Private Sector Funding

  • Don McKinnon
Foreign Affairs

In 1990 New Zealand risked watching the Asian economic Orient Express hurtle by the platform Foreign Minister Don McKinnon said today when he addressed the new Asia 2000 Board.

Today, five years later, we are well and truly aboard that train.

Phenomenal Asian economic growth indirectly benefits every New Zealander as our increasing standard of living is spurred on by demand for New Zealand goods and services from this region, he said.

Reflecting the importance of the opportunities this growth offers Mr McKinnon announced increased funding of $5 million for the Asia 2000 Foundation before last months budget.

He also foreshadowed additional private sector funding.

Today Mr McKinnon thanked private sector contributors and warmly welcomed their pledges of nearly $1.5 million.

These very generous contributions give the Foundation a tremendous base to work from. Knowing it has the support of the private sector, who after all are the real engines driving any push into Asian markets, certainly gives the Foundations work a real boost, he said.

It also signifies to Asian markets that New Zealanders are really serious about building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with Asia.

Mr McKinnon paid a warm and fulsome tribute to Sir Frank Holmes who is stepping down as Chairman of the Board.

Sir Frank has been the real lynch pin of the Foundations success. He has unhesitatingly given of his time and fantastic energy and, through the Foundation, New Zealand is the richer for it, he said.

Announcing Sir Franks new role as the first New Zealand based Honorary Advisor Mr McKinnon said he hoped Sir Frank would continue to play an active role in the Foundations development.