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First of all, a cordial greeting to all Italians in New Zealand, I am happy to meet you in this country, which has been able to keep itself free from the Covid 19 pandemic, allowing us to lead a normal life.

I address a thought to the difficulties that Italians, our friends, our families are facing with courage.

In these difficult times collaboration between nations is paramount. New Zealand and Italy are side by side in many areas: our countries have decided to focus on clean and renewable energies as a source of power generation, and to concentrate the efforts of our technology in cutting-edge solutions that can contribute to reduce and regress the effects of climate change. Climate diplomacy is high on our agenda as an incisive tool to prevent the effects of climate change. The rising sea levels represent a serious life threat not just for the small Pacific island nations, but also for countries with extensive coastlines like ours.

New Zealand and Italy are actively promoting peace in all international fora as well as in many areas of the world; we are also strong promoters of the moratorium on death penalty’s campaign.

Despite the negative effects of the present pandemic, the trade and economic relations between our two countries are growing steadily. In 2016 the European Union and New Zealand signed a Partnership Agreement on Relations and Cooperation, and now a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is in full negotiation. Italy supports a timely conclusion of the FTA as we believe it will result in a significant increase in our bilateral commercial relations.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has negatively affected people-to-people relations, which were previously flourishing, driven by the increasing number of Italian professionals choosing New Zealand as their home, by the growing two-way flow of tourists and by the popular working holiday scheme.

Fortunately, even at this time there are important Italian actors in New Zealand, such as the Prada group, which is the official sponsor of the America's Cup, and with the wonderful boat Luna Rossa, is the Kiwis' challenger in the Cup, or the Ghella group, which is currently involved in a significant water project that will have a decisive impact on the environmental redevelopment of the bay.

These and other presences of Italian or Italian-New Zealand economic operators keep the commercial and economic relations - but not only those - between the two countries alive and allow the enhancement of Italian excellence in New Zealand.

Science is also a fertile ground for enhanced cooperation between our two nations. The Italian scientific activity in the Antarctic in around the Ros Sea area is benefiting from close cooperation with the NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research). Academic collaboration among our Universities also keeps growing despite the pandemic.

I would like to conclude this short message with the hope of a 2021 that will see, all over the world, the defeat of the pandemic and a return to prosperity.


Francesco Calogero