A programme organised for 9 visiting honorary consuls over 4 to 8 May was a resounding success, achieving all its objectives.
The visit programme, the third in a series, was designed to improve the knowledge base of our offshore network so that honorary consuls are better placed to advance New Zealand’s interests in their jurisdictions.
The programme again demonstrated the value of investing in supporting the honorary consuls’ visit to New Zealand.
Over 3 days in Wellington and a further 2 days in Auckland, our honorary consuls engaged with a range of speakers from the Ministry, including members of the Senior Leadership Team and the CEO, as well as the minister, and received presentations from a number of NZ Inc. agencies.
The honorary consuls were also able to spend time with their respective regional divisions, and their feedback noted the value of being able to do this. Equally, the engagement with Consular Division served to underscore the at times critical role of honorary consuls in delivery of consular support to New Zealanders abroad. Lisa Choegyal (Kathmandu) was able to provide a first hand and sobering account of her experience following the recent earthquake which has recently devastated Nepal.
The Wellington segment provided the honorary consuls with an improved understanding of, and context for, New Zealand’s foreign policy settings, the current economic situation, and the measures being taken to improve New Zealand’s economic performance. In particular, presentations by Simon Draper on New Zealand’s Security Council tenure, and from Treasury, Dr Girol Karacaoglu’s presentation on the New Zealand economy, are 2 of a number of presentations which clearly resonated with this group.
A business engagement programme in Auckland and cocktail reception attended by the minister and hosted by Ambassador for Pacific Economic Development Shane Jones was well received. During his brief remarks, the minister commented that New Zealand’s honorary consul network remains the most cost effective diplomatic investment the Ministry makes.
The visit programme underlined the wealth of talent and experience, and the calibre of New Zealand’s honorary consul network. Many of the members, including those who participated on this visit programme, are well connected members of the business community.
Consistent with the feedback received from the previous 2 programmes, it is evident there is a strong appetite within the network for increased utilisation of their skills and experience for the benefit of New Zealand.