Mr Dave Bromwich, National President of NZ-China Friendship Society,
Mr Chris Lipscombe, President of the Wellington Branch,
Members of the NZ-China Friendship Society,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Kia ora, Happy Chinese New Year! 春节快乐！
Thank you for the kind invitation to the annual banquet. Given the suggestions from MFAT, I am not encouraged to engage with ministers and MPs before presenting the Credentials, so it is a regret I may not join you in person this time. But I do look forward to doing so when future such opportunities arise.
On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in New Zealand, I would like to extend our warmest greetings to all of you for the Year of the Tiger! I also want to thank the NZCFS and the Wellington Branch for organizing this celebration.
In 2021, despite the challenges and disruptions caused by COVID, China and New Zealand have stood together to actively implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, and pushed for new achievements in exchanges and cooperation across the board, which have brought more tangible benefits to the two peoples.
The continuous development of China-New Zealand relations cannot be achieved without the valuable support and unremitting efforts of the various communities in New Zealand. NZCFS is one of the most prominent communities which has made a positive contribution to strengthening friendship and cooperation between our two countries. I would like to express our high appreciation to Mr Dave Bromwich and all of NZCFS branches, for your tremendous work to this end.
The year 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations. China is ready to make joint efforts with New Zealand, in the spirit of "striving to be the first", to inject new impetus into the development of bilateral relations and further strengthen our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. We will work more closely with all New Zealand communities to explore more cooperation opportunities in areas like economy, culture, tourism, education, scientific research, environment,etc.
I would like to share some good news with you. Just a few days ago, the bilateral Free Trade Agreement Upgrade Protocol was officially ratified by both sides, which will enter into force on 7 April 2022. This will undoubtedly further reduce barriers to trade and deliver more benefits to enterprises and people of both countries. Furthermore, New Zealand athelete Zoi Sadowski-Synnott has won both first ever gold and silver medal in Winter Olympics for New Zealand at Beijing. All of the above adds more “firsts” to our already robust relationship and signals a good start of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations.
I believe that by carrying forward the internationalism promoted by Rewi Alley, and through concerted efforts, China-New Zealand relations will have a more promising future. I also believe friends from NZCFS have the wisdom and ability to help further enhance the understanding and friendship between our two peoples.
In Chinese culture, “tiger” is a symbol of courage and fortitude. Standing at the new historical juncture, in the spirit of the tiger, let’s work together, and lose no time in seizing the opportunities, so as to achieve greater breakthroughs and sail the ship of China-New Zealand relationship towards an even better future.
Let me wish all of you a happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Tiger and the Banquet a complete success!
Look forward to meeting with all of you face to face soon.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to New Zealand