State Luncheon for Sir Peter Cosgrove

Delivered at a State Luncheon for Sir Peter Cosgrove at Government House.
1 Jun 2017

Kia ora koutou.

A very warm welcome to you, Sir Peter and Lady Cosgrove.

I am well aware that this is not your first visit to New Zealand since you took office, so we are delighted to be able to accord you the honour of a belated State Welcome today.

We welcome this opportunity to celebrate the importance of our very special relationship with our closest neighbour.

New Zealand and Australia have so much in common – not least an adherence to the rule of law, a shared history of constitutional monarchy, and the role of Governor-General.

It’s not surprising that New Zealand and Australia are frequently described as the two most ‘connected countries on the planet’ – given the degree of integration and coordination we enjoy across many domains.

On any given week, an Australian or New Zealand Minister is likely to be flying across the Tasman to meet with their counterpart.

This close relationship is central to our prosperity and security. Australia is New Zealand’s only defence ally, and we share more than a century of collective security efforts – dating back to the Gallipoli landings – where we fought alongside each other as ANZACs.

Next week, when I attend the commemorations to mark the centenary of the Battle of Messines in Belgium, I will have occasion to reflect on the ANZAC bond between New Zealanders and Australians who fought side by side in that battle.

More recently, our forces worked together under the command of our honoured guest, Sir Peter, in the INTERFET mission, which was responsible for overseeing Timor Leste’s transition to independence. New Zealand contributed what was then our largest ever peacetime deployment of uniformed personnel.

This defence relationship continues today, with Australian and New Zealand personnel currently deployed in the Middle East, in Camp Taji in Iraq, in Afghanistan, Egypt and the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. Our Defence Force is looking forward to hosting Australian personnel in the upcoming Exercise Southern Katipo later this year.

Good neighbourliness comes to the fore during times of crisis, and after the Canterbury earthquakes, we very much appreciated Australian support, including the deployment of over 300 police officers.
Again, after the Kaikoura earthquake, an Australian Navy ship assisted with a depth sonar to map the changed sea bed.
Economically, the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Agreement of 1983 has evolved to the point where it provides for virtually free movement of goods, services, and capital.
We are now considered to have two of the most integrated economies in the world.
However we are aiming even higher, with a formal agenda for achieving a Single Economic Market, to enable NZ and Australian businesses to operate seamlessly across the Tasman.
Supported by this vision, businesses with trans-Tasman footprints have proliferated – from banking, to retail, manufacturing, and construction.
Australia is now our second-largest market for goods and our largest market for services. We are each other’s largest source of tourist arrivals, with 1.4 million Australians visiting here each year.
Australia and New Zealand are both innovative, forward-looking countries. We frequently turn to our neighbours across the ditch to share ideas, tweak policies and cooperate on projects.
So much so that it isn’t always clear who can claim credit for good ideas and talent – from the Pavlova through to Russell Crowe.
In February, when Prime Minister Turnbull visited New Zealand to meet with Prime Minister English, they signed a Science, Research and Innovation Agreement, which provides a platform for a next generation science and innovation relationship between our two countries.
Our Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement has provided benefits for both countries. We welcome Australians with open arms and are proud of the strong contribution to Australian society made by the New Zealanders who have chosen to settle there.
We welcome the free flow of new ideas, the growth of businesses and the deepening bonds between the people of our two countries.

There is a whakatauki, or Maori proverb, “He hono tangata e kore e motu; ka pa he taura waka e motu”
Unlike a canoe rope, a human bond cannot be severed.

Above all, it is our people-to-people relationships that matter, and your visit is another thread in the bonds that tie our two countries together.

Thank you for coming, please enjoy your stay and come back again soon.





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