Philippine Ambassador calls on MP Simon Bridges, Minister for Energy and Resources
In line with the Philippine Embassy’s continuing efforts to promote closer ties with New Zealand, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez, accompanied by Consul Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa, called on the Honorable Simon Bridges, the Minister of Energy and Resources, Minister of Labour, and Associate Minister for Climate Change Issues, and a Member of Parliament (MP) representing the electorate of Tauranga on 20 August 2013.
Minister Bridges welcomed Ambassador Benavidez and stated that Filipinos are thriving members of New Zealand society, particularly in Tauranga’s multicultural community, his area of jurisdiction. He mentioned that there are approximately 1,000 Filipinos in Tauranga and many are in the fields of construction, dairy farms and healthcare. He stated that he has enjoyed attending Filipino functions and festivities and personally seen how Filipinos have integrated themselves in the Tauranga society easily and how they have animated the churches with their presence. Minister Bridges said that he would welcome more Filipinos in Tauranga. Ambassador Benavidez thanked Minister Bridges for his positive impression and deep appreciation for the roles and contributions of Filipinos in Tauranga and other parts of New Zealand.
Their discussions and interactions focused on the increasing numbers of and preference for skilled Filipinos in the rebuild and reconstruction of Christchurch, the collaborative efforts between relevant Philippine and New Zealand government agencies and private companies for the equitable treatment, proper deployment and smooth entry of Filipinos to Christchurch, the bright prospects for cooperation in geothermal energy between the Philippines and New Zealand and the opportunities for greater collaboration and capacity building in the dairy sector.
Minister Bridges said that he is looking forward to visiting the Philippines given the momentum in energy cooperation and the close people-to-people understanding and friendship between Filipinos and New Zealanders.
Minister Bridges invited Ambassador Benavidez to visit Tauranga in the future. In her reply, Ambassador Benavidez thanked Minister Bridges for a fruitful meeting and said that she is looking forward to meeting him again in Tauranga where the Philippine Embassy will be scheduling a mobile consular service in due course.