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STEPHEN JACOBI: CLOSING REMARKS TO THE SOUTHERN LINK CONFERENCE

June 28, 2019

My thanks to Tim Groser for that characteristically masterful of summary of our discussions today.

It has been a stimulating day and you have all contributed to the quality and substance of the discussion.

When the small group that came together to plan this event first met at the end of last year, we decided this wasn’t going to be just another conference.

By that we meant that it wasn’t enough that we gathered the right people, or that the addresses stretched the imagination or that the catering stretched the waist line.

We wanted the conference to have an outcome.

We wanted to get on with the job of building the Southern Link.

That job won’t be done in a day but it will be done by the people in this room.

It’s clear we do have work to do – to convince our Government that the changes to public policy and regulation which we have identified are worth making because the prize – in terms of increased trade, travel and tourism – is high.

I am thinking in particular of visas, air services, trade facilitation and border policies.

We have to convince commercial partners to adjust their business strategies and to look at this opportunity with a medium term focus and not just as a long term prospect.

I am thinking here of airlines, freight-forwarding and logistics companies, e-commerce platforms and enablers, and those companies interested in building value chains across the Pacific.

There are already signs that some are moving quickly.

I’m pleased to congratulate one of our valued sponsors, First Global Logistics, on its new partnership with Asendia and to welcome Asendia’s Director for Asia and Oceania, Lionel Berthe, who has been with us today.

This new partnership has been conceived with the Southern Link in mind.

What is clear is that we will need to work as a team to build the Southern Link.

We will need a new coalition of the willing, one that is multi-sector and multi-country.

That’s why tomorrow the group that put together today’s event will meet with our international partners to review the outcome of today, to plan next steps and to start the work of the Southern Link Coalition.

We look forward to engaging all of you in this important work.

For today though, and before Mayor Phil Goff offers us a final word, it remains for me to thank all you who believed enough in the strength of this big, new idea to spend the day with us.

My grateful thanks also:

  • to the co-hosts: the NZ China Council, the Latin America NZ Business Council, the Argentine Council for International Relations the Chilean Foundation for the Pacific and Fudan University
  • to our international guests from Argentina, China and Chile who made the trip across the Southern Link to be here with us today
  • to our wonderful sponsors without whom this conference just wouldn’t have been possible – Air New Zealand, Auckland Airport, Christchurch Airport, First Global Logistics, ICBC, New Zealand Post, NZTE and PwC
  • to the Latin America Centre for Asia Pacific Excellence who made possible Loreto Leyton’s visit to New Zealand
  • to the small group that worked hard on today’s event – Mike Arand, Justine Arroll, Mark Frood, Dene Green Heather Kawan, Andrew Kirton, Kris Nygren, Colum Rice, and Jane Yang
  • to Stephanie Honey for guiding our discussions so capably
  • and last but by no means least to Katrina Aro and the team at The Conference Company for the excellent arrangements.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Southern Link is born !

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