NZ Government attends Bali Democracy Forum

  • Jonathan Coleman

Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman represented New Zealand at the fourth Bali Democracy Forum this week.

The two-day Forum in Nusa Dua, Bali, was an opportunity for countries to share their experiences and best practices on democracy with a view to encouraging wider cooperation on strengthening democratic institutions in Asia and the Pacific.

Established by Indonesia in 2008, The Bali Democracy Forum brings together Heads of State and Foreign Ministers from countries across Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific.

Attendance this year has increased from 62 to 82 countries with attendees including the President of Indonesia, the President of Sri Lanka, the Sultan of Brunei, and the Prime Ministers of Bangladesh and Timor Leste.

‘’Democracy has contributed to New Zealand’s prosperity and our stable social and political environment,’’ says Dr Coleman, who attended on behalf of Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully.

‘’We can share our positive experience of democracy with other nations, and it’s in our interests to see that the Asia region, to which we are now so closely linked, fosters the same environment.’’

Dr Coleman also separately met with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, who welcomed New Zealand's continued support for the Forum and for cooperation in promoting democracy in the region.

Dr Coleman described Indonesia as a key relationship for New Zealand. ‘’It’s a growing economic and political power that will become even more important to us in the years ahead.’’ Dr Coleman told Dr Natalegawa that New Zealand was delighted with Indonesia's recent decision to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty.

Indonesia is New Zealand’s eight largest export market and the second largest export market in South East Asia with two-way trade worth $1.47 billion a year.