News, Events and Culture

Mayor leads high-level regional delegation to China

Friday September 4 2015

China delegation

The aim is to foster relationships and promote educational and business opportunities.

Mr Smith will join eleven other mayors at the New Zealand-China Mayoral Forum in Xiamen City, where he'll be speaking on education.

"We'll be showcasing the wide range of study options for Chinese students in the Manawatu and wider region from primary through to tertiary level," says Mr Smith.

Mr Smith will be personally accompanied by a group of education specialists from Massey University, the International Pacific College, and Palmerston North Girls High School. They will also be representing UCOL and other regional high schools.

"It is a rare chance to engage with key Chinese contacts on a personal and civic level," he says.

Following the Forum, the Manawatu delegation will visit Beijing for a day, where they will tour schools, meet with the China Scholarship Council and later talk with trade and education officials at the New Zealand Embassy.

"The delegation will then head to our Sister City, Guiyang. I am looking forward to renewing Palmerston North's bonds with the City", he says.

The next stop will include a visit to Guizhou University of Finance and Economics, then on to nearby Guizhou University, where Mr Smith will deliver a keynote speech, and witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Guizhou University and Massey University (renewing an earlier MOU).

"It is a chance to witness first-hand the remarkable transformation of pasture land in this area, made possible through the partnership Massey University and Guizhou University have built up over a couple of decades," Mr Smith says.

More details on the Mayoral Forum in Xiamen City

The 75 strong delegation is the largest to have ever visited China. There are twelve mayors representing many of the country's cities and regions, as well as business and educational leaders from across New Zealand, led by Local Government New Zealand.

At the Forum New Zealand and Chinese mayors are due to sign the Xiamen declaration, detailing the Forum's intent to improve relations and work to advance economic development outcomes for the people of both countries.

"Having an agreement with one of the world's largest economies is a significant step to supporting regional economic growth," says Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) President Lawrence Yule.

"Since the 2008 signing of the free trade agreement with China, New Zealand exports have risen from NZ$2.2 billion to NZ$8.3 billion. The deepening of relationships at a sub-national level opens the door for further trade and investment."

Members of the Manawatu delegation:

Palmerston North Mayor, Grant Smith

Director International, Massey University, Arthur Chin

Professor in Entomology, Massey University, Qiao Wang

President IPC Tertiary Institute, Wayne Edwards

Director of International Education, Palmerston North Girls High School, Gabrielle Nguyen

General Manager City Future, Palmerston North City Council, Sheryl Bryant

New Zealand Consulate-General, Chengdu, Alistair Crozier