The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) is responsible for protecting and promoting New Zealand’s interests overseas. In tandem with its network of overseas posts, the Ministry works mainly with foreign governments on political, security, trade, travel and other issues affecting the wellbeing of New Zealanders. To be effective overseas, the Ministry needs good links with sector groups and other New Zealand organisations with foreign and trade policy interests. The Auckland Office leads the Ministry’s engagement and connectivity with the nation’s biggest city and commercial capital.
The Ministry opens doors to foreign trade by overcoming or reducing trade access barriers. It negotiates and protects access rules for New Zealand goods and services in overseas markets, analyses economic and political conditions and represents New Zealand interests. Having helped to open the doors, the Ministry works closely with other agencies and organisations that help New Zealanders take advantage of the opportunities. In particular it works closely with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise which provides expertise, contacts and support to assist exporters expand their operations overseas. Other important agencies with which we work closely include Tourism New Zealand, Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI), Education New Zealand (ENZ), Customs, Immigration, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), the Auckland City Council, the Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development agency (ATEED) and Waterfront Auckland.
The Ministry’s Auckland Office engages with businesses, Civic institutions and other organisations in the city that have an interest in foreign and trade policies and growing the international connectivity of Auckland. It also serves to bring Auckland issues and the interests of Auckland-based businesses to the attention of the MFAT offshore network and to supplement engagement with the Wellington headquarters of MFAT. This includes ensuring that relevant Ministers, particularly the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Trade are able to effectively engage on foreign and trade issues of interest to Auckland.
At a practical level this support to business and institutions might include providing advice, making connections, or arranging specialised briefings with visiting New Zealand ambassadors, trade negotiators and foreign delegations. The Office works closely with Wellington-based MFAT senior staff to supplement their interactions with business, political and cultural leaders in Auckland. As well as responding to information requests, the Auckland Office looks for opportunities to raise awareness of the government’s foreign and trade policy priorities. It does this by maintaining links with a range of companies and sectors.
The Office works with a range of Auckland interests, including:
As an Aucklander, I am immensely proud to be able to return home to the city as MFAT’s representative. In my view, the Director of the Auckland Office is one of the Ministry’s most important and interesting positions. Auckland is New Zealand’s major international gateway and a driver of national economic growth. It is our most ethnically diverse city with a vibrancy that reflects the people and cultures that reside here.
My role is to ensure that MFAT is well-connected across Auckland and able to fully support the City’s economic growth ambitions and internationalisation strategies. This includes building linkages with business, the City, Iwi, consular representatives and the various groups that represent their communities in Tamaki Makaurau. I am excited about the role MFAT can play in supporting efforts to make Auckland “the world’s most liveable city”; the innovation hub of the Asia-Pacific with a highly-skilled and educated workforce that is able to support export growth and investment opportunities.
In previous roles as Deputy Head of Mission in both Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) and Hanoi (Viet Nam), I have been heavily involved in supporting New Zealand exporters and service firms, working to build people to people and education links and promoting the New Zealand brand. My other experiences include time with the Commonwealth Secretariat in London and in the New Zealand Ministry of Defence. This has allowed me to view Auckland in a number of lights and to better understand the demands of the city
I welcome contact – either directly, or in association with other units of the Ministry – with Auckland business and organisations seeking dialogue with central government on foreign and trade policy issues and concerns. And I look forward to working with you all in supporting the growth of this wonderful, vibrant and dynamic international city.
MFAT Auckland Office
Level 6, 139 Quay Street/PO Box 2346 Shortland Street,