APEC Human Resource Development Working Group Ministerial Meeting

  • Brian Donnelly
Education Review Office

E nga mana, e nga reo, anei nga mihi kawea mai i Aotearoa, tena koutou, kia ora koutou katoa.

In the language of the indigenous people of New Zealand, this means, "To all you distinguished
people, I bring you greeting from New Zealand - the land of the long white cloud."

Mr. Chairman, Honourable Ministers, APEC colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen. It is my great
pleasure to be here today to represent New Zealand at the 2nd APEC Human Resources
Development Working Group Ministerial Meeting. On behalf of the Government of New Zealand I
extend you all my personal greeting and warm wishes. In particular, I would like to thank the
Government of the Republic of Korea for hosting such as prestigious gathering of Human Resource
policy makers.

It is good to see so many APEC member economies represented around this table. It bears
testimony to the impressive momentum of APEC, and also to the increasing emphasis being placed
by the organisation on issues relating to human resources development.

Since the founding of APEC, New Zealand has been an enthusiastic advocate of its ability to draw
our region together in the spirit of co-operation and community. We strongly support the free trade
and investment goals set out in the Bogor Declaration, and we were pleased to see this translated
into subsequent comprehensive actions through both the Osaka Action Agenda and the Manila
Action Plan.

It is impressive that so much has been achieved within APEC over a comparatively short space of
time. I have no doubt that this is partly attributable to the fact that activities being undertaken in
groups such as this encourage us to explore our common ground, resolve our differences,
understand one another and share from our diverse experiences.

We recognise that the projects being undertaken in the Human Resources Working Group are
central to the realisation of the APEC vision. There are compelling linkages between reaching our
targets on trade and investment liberalisation and the development of our region's human resources.
This is because human resources are central to almost all economic activity within the region.
Development of this key resource is best achieved by co-operation in planning, developing and
implementing practical and appropriate education and training for members of the workforce, not
only those who are employed at present, by more importantly, for those people who will become
the workforce of the future.

This is a significant challenge and one that New Zealand is prepared to accept. As part of this
process, the New Zealand Government has recently embarked on a series of major policy reviews
- releasing several Green Papers, or discussion documents. These papers cover reviews of the
Government's policy on qualifications and the future of New Zealand's tertiary education system.
One major consideration for the Government in these reviews has been the need to ensure that our
education system is internationally focused and that our qualifications and institutions match
international standards. In the spirit of co-operation which is embodied within the objectives of
APEC, I would be pleased to share these reviews with other participants.

Again, I would like to extend thanks to our host economy, the Republic of Korea. Over the course
of the next two days I look forward to getting to know more of you on a personal basis and to
continue the outstanding work that has been achieved to date.