Philippine Ambassador calls on the member of parliament for New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand
In line with the Philippine Embassy’s continuing efforts to promote closer ties with New Zealand’s local governments, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez, accompanied by Minister and Consul General Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa, made an official call on the Honourable Jonathan Young, Member for Parliament (MP) for New Plymouth in Taranaki, New Zealand on 24 October 2014. MP Young is Chair of the Commerce Select Committee and also Chair of Economic Development Caucus Committee as well as a member of the Maori Affairs Select Committee. The meeting was made during the simultaneous delivery of the Embassy’s mobile consular services for the benefit of Filipinos in the Taranaki and surrounding areas in the North Island in New Zealand on 24-27 October 2014.
MP Young warmly welcomed Ambassador Benavidez and stated that Filipinos are active and vibrant members of the New Plymouth District. Ambassador Benavidez shared with MP Young that the Filipino Labour Weekend Festival is an annual event for Filipinos in New Zealand and that the Embassy’s mobile consular services is a regular feature of Pistang Pilipino 2014 sa New Plymouth on 25-26 October 2013. She informed MP Young that New Zealand has significant and growing people-to-people links with the Philippines with the Filipino population increasing significantly in New Zealand totalling 40,350 with 666 living in the Taranaki Region.
MP Young provided Ambassador Benavidez with an overview of the white gold (dairy) and black gold (oil and gas) economic strengths of Taranaki as well as its expertise in engineering and the specialized courses being offered by Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT). Subsequent discussions focused on developing deeper relations with the Philippines utilizing strengths that Taranaki has to offer, such as Taranaki’s excellent educational, engineering and dairy institutions.
Ambassador Benavidez thanked MP Young for the productive meeting and looked forward to further enhancing relations with Taranaki.