The first ever Partnership Forum was held on April 20-22, 2006 in Washington D.C. It was organized by the US-NZ Council and its New Zealand counterpart the NZ-US Council. Distinguished delegations from New Zealand and the United States gathered together including Co-Chairs Jim Bolger and Mike Moore for New Zealand and Clayton Yeutter and George Mitchell for the United States to fulfill the purpose of the Forum: To engage in furthering understanding and friendship between the two countries, bilaterally and in the context of the Asia-Pacific region.
In addition to the Co-Chairs, the New Zealand delegation included two Cabinet Ministers, three opposition MPs, heads of government departments and agencies, and many CEOs, Presidents, Chairs, and Board Members of NZ companies, trade associations and other entities. A bipartisan group of US participants included two Under Secretaries, present and former Assistant Secretaries of State for Asia and the Pacific, former members of Congress and US Ambassadors, high level corporate executives, senior partners from law firms, heads of trade associations and think tanks, and academics with high-level government experience. US Ambassador to New Zealand, B.N. McCormick, and NZ Ambassador to the United States, Roy Ferguson, participated throughout.
Experts discussed foreign policy, trade, investment, finance, security, agriculture, labor, the environment, and regional issues such as the importance to both countries of the rise of China and India, economic integration in the 21st century, and sound energy policy.
The participants considered the Forum a great success to the extent that it was agreed for New Zealand to host a follow-on Forum late in 2007. Participants left energized, enthusiastic about the event, reinvigorated about the US-NZ relationship, and determined to continue to broaden and deepen the ties between the two countries.
The Forum presents an unparalleled opportunity to those with commercial, public policy, academic or other interests in the two countries and the region to play an essential and ongoing role in accelerating this high-level dialogue. Participants from both countries applauded the quality of the delegations and the discourse and volunteered to work to maintain that quality going forward. Inaugural sponsors praised the effectiveness of the format, the seriousness and level of the exchange and the potential for long-term results.
Platinum sponsors for the Inaugural Forum were Boeing, Fonterra USA, and Van Scoyoc Associates; Gold were EDS, Pernod Ricard USA, and Meat and Wool New Zealand; Silver were FedEx, National Australia Bank, Time Warner, Saatchi & Saatchi, The US Chamber, and Weyerhaeuser.
To see the full 2006 Partnership Forum report, Click here.