Emperor Of Japan’s Birthday Celebration

Last night’s function at the Duxton reinforced the importance of the Japan relationship for New Zealand.  I counted almost half the Cabinet in the room, a very impressive turn out.  And two Ministers outside Cabinet were there also.  Darren Hughes, Steve Chadwick and Stuart Nash were there from the Opposition.  It was good that a Cabinet Minister (Groser) gave the speech and toast from the New Zealand side ending the practice of recent years where the speech has been given by the Director of Protocol (an MFAT officer).  The Japanese Ambassador mentioned the work of the International Business Forum in taking the relationship forward and the agreement between the two Government’s to study the FTA possibility.  This was also encouraging.  Groser gave a good speech and toast, speaking from the heart, as opposed to reading a prepared speech.  This went down well with the audience.  Well done to the Japanese Embassy and Ambassador for hosting another excellent function.

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