09 February 2013
CER strengthened after Queenstown talks
Prime Minister John Key says Australia and New Zealand are two of the most integrated economies in the world and this weekend’s talks with Prime Minister Gillard have only strengthened that bond.
The two Prime Ministers are in Queenstown for the annual Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ meeting.
Prime Minister Key and Prime Minister Gillard acknowledged the 30th Anniversary of the Australia/New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Agreement (CER).
CER is widely acknowledged as the vehicle which has seen successive governments on both sides of the Tasman progressively remove barriers to trade in goods, services and investment between the two countries.
The Prime Ministers announced a new package of measures, including:
· Joint action to address the high cost of mobile roaming rates between the two countries;
· Further investments to streamline travel between the two countries, including an Australian government $8 million trial of fast‑track automated technology from Australian airports, and New Zealand’s trial of next generation ‘SmartGate Plus’ technology;
· Commencement of new retirement savings portability arrangements between Australia and New Zealand from 1 July 2013; and
· Entry into force of the CER Investment Protocol from 1 March 2013.
“These measures underline our on-going commitment to further integration of the Australian and New Zealand economies, which will boost economic growth, and help retain and create new, well‑paying jobs for Australians and New Zealanders,” says Mr Key.
Prime Minister Key was also pleased to announce New Zealand has agreed to resettle 150 refugees who are subject to Australia’s offshore processing legislation.
“People smuggling has tragic consequences. It is a regional problem that requires regional cooperation.
“These 150 refugees will form part of the quota of 750 refugees New Zealand already takes as part of its commitment to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). They will not be in addition to the quota. We are limiting this to 150 in order to still maintain a significant commitment to resettling refugees referred by the UNHCR,” says Mr Key.
The governments of Prime Minister Gillard and Prime Minister Key also agreed to provide NZ$3 million in matched funding over two years to support trans-Tasman collaboration to identify potential vaccines for rheumatic fever.
“The incidence of this disease is very high among Māori, Pacific Island, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and an effective vaccine would be a major step forward for the health of these communities in both countries and across the Pacific,” says Mr Key.
The Prime Ministers also agreed they would work together to investigate a possible reciprocal student debt recovery scheme.
“This annual meeting is an important one, and one that is always productive. It is heartening to see that 30 years after the introduction of CER it is stronger than ever.
“I thank Prime Minister Gillard for her continued support and look forward to making progress on the issues discussed this weekend over the next 12 months,” says Mr Key.Tweet