SECRETARY-GENERAL MCKINNON GREAT FOR NEW ZEALANDInternational Trade
Trade Minister Lockwood Smith has warmly welcomed Don McKinnon's appointment as Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.
"I'm delighted that the Commonwealth has recognised the leadership and skills that Don will bring as the new Secretary-General," Dr Smith said.
"Over the past nine years as New Zealand's Foreign Minister, Don's remarkable personal qualities and his measured approach to issues has promoted New Zealand, a small player on the world stage, to playing a key role in foreign affairs.
"In the Pacific region, Don's role in resolving the Bouganville conflict was pivotal, following from years of fruitless attempts to broker peace over the previous years by international organisations.
"And at APEC in Auckland, Don again demonstrated his special leadership qualities on East Timor, chairing the Special Meeting of Foreign Ministers which has been credited with bringing an early settlement to the troubled region weeks, if not months earlier than would otherwise have been possible.
Dr Smith said that Mr McKinnon's appointment also reflects New Zealand's fine international reputation on foreign affairs and trade issues.
"Following from Mike Moore's appointment as Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Don's appointment speaks volumes about the way other countries have valued New Zealand's contribution on foreign affairs and trade internationally, and it's great to have our influence recognised in this way," Dr Smith said.
"As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Don has always been very supportive of my work as Trade Minister, and I take this opportunity to thank him for that, and to congratulate him on this prestigious appointment.
"Although he will no doubt maintain strong links with New Zealand through his work at the Commonwealth, Don's direct input will be missed by many New Zealanders, and I wish him every success in his new role," Dr Smith concluded.