NZ ‘wants a slice of India growth story’
Greeting President Pranab Mukherjee with a traditional ‘Namaskar’, New Zealand Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae hosted a banquet in his honour where he said his country wants to be a part of India’s growth story in a speech dominated by sports especially cricket. Highlighting the importance of India in New Zealand, Mateparae said it is people-to-people links that underpin our bilateral relations.
“New Zealand is home to people from all over India...As a testament to this Hindi is the fourth-most spoken language in New Zealand...We also have shared heroes. Mahatma Gandhi is an admired figure in New Zealand; and Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s legacy as Everest pioneers is also well known in India.
“And of course, we have a shared love of hockey and cricket... Cricketers such as Sir Richard Hadlee, Stephen Fleming, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, and Daniel Vettori are well known in both countries. I would note that on Friday night former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum helped the Gujarat Lions to a nail-biting win over MS Dhoni’s Supergiants!,” he said as the audience smiled in acknowledgement.
Noting that New Zealand has ambitious goals to develop closer political and economic relations with India, he said Indian President’s visit and a recent meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Kiwi counterart John Key “augers well for closer political ties.”
“On the economic front, we want to grow our links in trade, investment, education, skilled migration and tourism. In that regard, New Zealand welcomes the Indian Government’s focus on business, its energetic international engagement and its ambitious modernisation agenda. New Zealand wants to be a part of India’s growth story,” he said.
President Mukherjee, in his banquet speech, said, “We note with satisfaction a new momentum in our bilateral relations...In 2013, our bilateral trade crossed one billion US dollars. However, given the relative size of our economies and the wide convergence of interests in many areas, we both agree that the present level of trade and investment needs to be vigorously advanced in order to realise its substantial potential.”