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Treasurer to address Trans-Tasman business leaders.

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17 July 2008


Tomorrow morning I will address key representatives of the Australian and New Zealand business community at a breakfast hosted by the Trans-Tasman business circle.

I will discuss the evolution of the Closer Economic Relations agreement noting that what started off as an agreement signed 25 years ago by the Hawke Labor Government to promote free trade in goods between Australia and New Zealand, now promotes economic links in a much broader sense.

I will discuss the importance of Australia and New Zealand continuing to work together to address the big global challenges we face, with climate change perhaps the most significant of these. Put simply, failing to act on climate change will erode Australia and New Zealand’s economic growth and irreparably damage our way of life. This is why we must act decisively on climate change.

I will outline the key outcomes from today’s meeting with New Zealand’s Finance Minister, Dr Michael Cullen, and discuss how Australia and New Zealand intend to further strengthen our economic ties, particularly in the areas of taxation, investment and retirement savings. Stronger economic links between our two countries deliver tangible benefits and enhance the wellbeing of Australians and New Zealanders alike.

Arrangements for a new tax treaty, investment protocol and a retirement savings portability scheme show that the Closer Economic Relations agreement is constantly evolving to better meet the needs of Australians and New Zealanders. In my address, I will reiterate my view that economic relations between our two countries must continue to be dynamic to keep abreast of contemporary social and economic factors.

Tomorrow, I will also visit Meridian Energy’s renowned waterfront building in Wellington, which I understand is New Zealand’s most environmentally friendly building, and is designed to use 60% less energy and 70% less water than regular office buildings.

I will also meet with Mr Bill English, the New Zealand opposition spokesperson for Finance.

Contact: Matt Martyn-Jones 0419 418 394