May I also acknowledge our hosts, the New Zealand-China International Training Centre (NZCITC). Dr Kaiwan Gan and Mrs Angela Yu have been real assets to this city not only in terms of the high quality of their programmes, but also in terms of furthering and enhancing relations between Christchurch and China.
The courses that they arrange help officials in city and provincial governments understand how public services operate here in New Zealand, discuss international best practice and also give a flavour of life in New Zealand. I trust that you have enjoyed a high-quality program in your time here, and that your learnings will prove useful in your future careers after you return home.
I was a Minister in the Government when New Zealand signed the Free Trade Agreement with China in 2008 – an important of the firsts that mark the relationship between NZ and China.
Now as Mayor of Christchurch I can see real opportunities for investment and development at the city to city level.
This is particularly reflected in our Sister City ties with both Gansu province and Wuhan and our friendly relations with several other cities including Chengdu, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.
In fact, China Southern Airlines direct flights from Guangzhou to Christchurch will be starting from next month. So if any of you want to come to Christchurch again, you don’t have to worry about transit visas ever again.
May I conclude by congratulating you all on completing your course with the New Zealand-China International Training Centre, it is my pleasure to present you with your certificates this evening. I hope that you all will have the opportunity to return to Christchurch in the future.
Since becoming Mayor two years ago I have welcomed delegations from many places around China; from Sichuan, Wuhan and Hubei, Guangzhou and Shenzhen to name just some. This is the first from Jiangsu Province.