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Prime Minister's Remarks, Business Reception - Queenstown, New Zealand

  • Written by Scott Morrison

Thank you very much, Prime Minister. I'm going to follow the same practice that you have. Jacinda, it’s wonderful to be with you and Clarke. Jenny and I are very pleased to be back here in Queenstown. Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou, katoa, kia ora, g’day.

 

It’s great to be here because it's always great to be amongst family. And can I acknowledge Ngāi Tahu. Can I acknowledge also the Ngunnawal people, which is the land I have just come from here today. As we were just remarking and what was a very moving welcome by Ngāi Tahu, Jenny and I, earlier this afternoon. It was truly wonderful. And we both share an Indigenous heritage in each of our lands, different as it is, but spiritual, informative, ancient and I think a guiding light to both nations as we continue to find a path through, as the Prime Minister has just said, in a world that has no rule book, it would seem, and particularly when it comes to the pandemic. And so I acknowledge the Ngāi Tahu and their elders past and present, as is our custom in Australia to acknowledge our elders past and present and our Indigenous peoples, and importantly, the future, importantly, the future.

 

Many years ago, as Jim will recall, and I knew Jim many years ago when I was here in New Zealand twenty years ago. It’s great to see you again. The work that Ngāi Tahu have done on the South Island of New Zealand, building up the tourism businesses, whether it’s whale watch and my great old mate Wally Stone and others. Sir Tipene O'Regan, a real great elder who’s done so much for New Zealand and for his people. But building those businesses, getting young people employed, from Ngāi Tahu. It was inspirational to me when I was here at the time and saw how it worked and I went back home to Australia and I must say my experience working with Maori across New Zealand all those years ago has greatly informed how I have sought to engage with Indigenous Australians as well, and we’re seeing success there too. And I think it's a very simple [inaudible]. So I want to thank, I want to thank Ngāi Tahu very much for their leadership role amongst Indigenous peoples, not just here in New Zealand but I think all around the world.

 

Can I thank also the team that has been pulling together the work of the business dialogue, Greg Lowe and Ann Sherry. Ann’s been doing this for many years, and thank you very much. Can I also acknowledge Patricia Forsythe, our High Commissioner here to New Zealand, and of course Dame Annette King, who's been a great interlocutor in Australia. When Jacinda and I could only speak over WhatsApp on the phone and Annette was always there, as I’m sure Patricia has been for you as well, for Jacinda and the New Zealand Government as well, and thank you for the great work that you've all been doing. I understand her Worship Steve Chadwick, Mayor of Rotorua, is also here, and that’s wonderful that we’re joined as well.

 

Look, I didn’t want to say too much tonight, but I do want to acknowledge exactly what Jacinda has. While we face the pandemic, and have been over these last 18 months, even now we're reminded that there are things that are occurring that keep our focus, whether it's the floods here in around Christchurch and Ashburton - as I remarked to a group, which is where my grandfather was born, many years ago - or indeed what we're seeing in Victoria as we take on the latest challenge in the pandemic, because there is always the next challenge the next day in this pandemic. And what I believe Australia and New Zealand has been able to achieve in these last 18 months is quite extraordinary on a global scale. And I think it's a testament to the peoples of New Zealand and Australia. It's an Anzac path that we’ve chartered through this pandemic. We have gone our own way in this part of the world and we've demonstrated, I think, people's great resilience, which has been our form over a very long period of time. And we've been able to both save lives and save livelihoods. We find ourselves in a situation with the relative strength of our economies to the rest of the world and indeed the, our health strength when it comes to COVID, which stands out amongst the nations of the world. And I know Jacinda and I, when we speak to foreign leaders, they remark constantly about how Australia and New Zealand has been able to chart its way through.

 

But one thing we know is it's not over yet. And for towns like Queenstown, which is not unlike - although the temperature is a little different - Cairns, both towns that have been heavily reliant and have been built on world renowned tourism industries. And I know it has been the tourism industries more than most that have had to, have had to suffer the most through this pandemic, because whilst even we might be able to ensure that our domestic tourism industries can move forward, and that's great, that's tremendous, but so much of the international businesses support places like this, and as you saw the lines at Fergburger get shorter and shorter over the course of the pandemic - it’s the Fergburger index, [inaudible] international tourism industry, which tourism operators will know well - yet you persisted, yet you persisted.

 

So I’m, as Jim was telling me, when the bubble opened up, where we were able to achieve that just before Anzac Day, and, and they were high fiving Jim in the streets because this was opening up again. That's tremendous because we have a shared prosperity, Australia and New Zealand. That's what the closer economic relationship has always been about. It's about a shared prosperity. And that shared prosperity, I think, is realised through what we've been able to achieve both through COVID and now opening up. And let's just see how much further that can go. But for now, we can't be complacent. For now we need to focus on the work ahead, not just the human biosecurity but indeed the animal biosecurity as well, that’s an important part of our discussions, ensuring our prosperity, but also keeping Australians and New Zealanders safe during this time.

 

So Jacinda and Clarke, thank you so much for having us here in your home country and we look forward to the discussions over the next day and we look forward to returning again on another occasion. Last time we were here Jenny jumped off the bridge. She's the more adventurous, she's the bungee jumper in our family. She’s probably going to be the only one, I suspect. That was on a happier day at another time when COVID wasn’t occurring and we were here many years ago with some friends. But here, over these next 24 hours, there is much work to do, isn't there Ann and Greg, and we will get about that over the next 24 hours. And I want to thank you all for your attendance here tonight and look forward to having a chat with some of you where we get the opportunity. Thank you very much.

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