PHL Ambassador calls on the Mayor of Taupo 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 Vice Consul Glenn Obach, made an official and business call on His Worship Mayor Rick Cooper of the Taupo District in the North Island of New Zealand on 26 February 2013. Mr. Will Samuel, Strategic Manager for Business Development of Taupo District Council, joined Mayor Cooper in the meeting. Taupo, a center of volcanic and geothermal activity, was the first destination of the Philippine Embassy Mobile Consular Team this year and Ambassador Benavidez took the opportunity to continue with the Embassy’s economic and public diplomacy activities in the area.
Mayor Cooper warmly welcomed Ambassador Benavidez and was delighted to know that his city has been chosen by the Embassy to kick start its mobile consular mission for 2013 serving 300 Filipinos from Taupo, Auckland, Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupuke, Hamilton and surrounding areas. There is an increasing Filipino community in Taupo comprising of dairy farm workers and entrepreneurs. Ambassador Benavidez shared with Mayor Cooper the results of the highly successful State Visit of President Benigno S. Aquino III to New Zealand on 22-23 October 2012 highlighting the importance of cooperation on geothermal energy, among others.
Discussions focused on the complementarity between the Philippines and New Zealand on geothermal energy for power generation, use of geothermal steam for timber and dairy processing, prawn farms and other high value operations. Mr. Samuel talked about the various opportunities for trade and investment taking advantage of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement, job generation, food security, harnessing of geothermal power for industries and possible areas of cooperation between the two countries.
Ambassador Benavidez thanked Mayor Cooper and Mr. Samuel for the highly informative meeting to advance economic relations between the Philippines and New Zealand and for the favourable feedback about the Filipinos in Taupo.