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Global engagement critical for success

New Zealanders must adopt a united approach with the right attitude and engage themselves collectively with the outside world to ensure success in the 21st Century and beyond, an expert in international affairs has said.

“We need to look out, engage ourselves with businesses and people in other countries and be a part of the world. The success or failure of New Zealand as a country will not be determined here but ‘out there,’ where the world meets,” Foreign Affairs & Trade Ministry Secretary and Chief Executive John Allen said.

He was the Guest Speaker at the Panworld Travel Mangere sponsored inaugural Indian Newslink Sir Anand Satyanand Lecture held at Stamford Plaza Hotel on July 4, 2011.

According to him, although many would say that they are ‘incredibly and extraordinarily’ interconnected with the world, the reality was different.

“The truth is that New Zealand fails to understand or engage with the contemporary world. We are not building the capacity for our business or our people to engage in the world in which our success depends. There is no place for xenophobia. We must celebrate our cultural diversity,” he said.

Global exposure imperative

Although he did not name groups, politicians or parties that were averse to keeping New Zealand open to international businesses, his stand on contemporary issues, which are being debated in public, was apparent.

“It is critically important that we challenge those who say that we do not want international investment. Without international investment, we do not have a future. We must challenge those who say they do not want Free Trade. We must also challenge those who say we do not need skills from offshore. We must challenge those who circle the wagons,” he said.

Mr Allen paid tribute to Governor General Rt Honourable Sir Anand Satyanand and Lady Susan Satyanand, saying that they were role models, representing New Zealand and New Zealanders at international events and occasions.

“They have been absolutely at the heart of New Zealand’s international engagement. They have been at the heart, not simply in the travelling that they have done around the world on our behalf but at the heart in the simple statements that they have made about the importance of diversity.

“We must salute their consistent, dignified approach in attacking racism and xenophobia as it emerged in this country,” he said.

Lecture Principles

Ravin Lal, Managing Director & Publisher of Indiana Publications (NZ) Limited, which owns the Indian Newslink brands, hoped that Indian Newslink Lecture would become an annual feature.

“The Lecture series has been designed to promote Accountability, Transparency, Integrity and Good Governance, which are enshrined in the life and career of Sir Anand and Lady Susan,” he said.

In his speech, Sir Anand said these values, dear to him, were not any birthright but were grounded in the values of parents, formed and shaped through education and through interaction with peers, colleagues and role models.

“My parents instilled the importance of integrity in a professional life. That formed a core for the approach I adopted in public service. The quest in public service remains accountability, transparency and good governance,” he said.

Sir Anand said Mr Allen and his team were charged with operating a network of embassies throughout the world, and providing strategic advice to the Government on matters of New Zealand’s international relations.

“The role holds the formal title of ‘Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade.’ Secretaries, in other guises, write agendas, take notes and keep minutes. John is one speaker who does none of the above. If there are any notes, they will most likely be scribbled on the back of his menu or a business card,” he said.

Wellington based Belly Gully Public Law Consultant Rt Hon Paul East was the Master of Ceremonies, while Labour MP Dr Rajen Prasad and Ignition Partner Limited Executive Director Chad Wilkie commented on the Lecture.

Among those who attended the Lecture were National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Indian High Commissioner Admiral Sureesh Mehta, Teresa Mehta, Act Party Leader Dr Don Brash, Je Lan Brash, former Auckland Mayor John Banks, Amanda Banks, Judges of High Courts and District Courts, Barristers, Lawyers, businesspersons and others.

Photo Caption: From left Ravin Lal, Sureesh Mehta, Dr Rajen Prasad, Sir Anand Satyanand, Lady Susan Satyanand, Nimesh Amin, Managing Director Panworld Travel Mangere (Sponsor of the Lecture), John Allen, Teresa Mehta and Rt Hon Paul East (Picture for Indian Newslink by Bhavnesh Soni)

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