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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets ANZSOG’s China Advanced Leadership Program delegates

22 November 2017

News and media


New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Aldern addresses ANZSOG's China Advanced Leadership Program.

New Zealand’s new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been quizzed by Chinese delegates visiting Australia and New Zealand as part of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government’s (ANZSOG) China Advanced Leadership Program (CALP).

Delegates had the chance to meet Ms Ardern in Wellington as part of the two-week program which involves meetings with senior politicians, public servants and academics.

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Ms Ardern answered questions and explained the New Zealand election process that led to her forming a coalition government.

She said New Zealand had gained hugely from its outward-looking economic relationships, but the benefits needed to be shared more equally and fairly amongst New Zealanders in the future.

Chinese delegates praised New Zealand’s hospitality, fresh produce and clean environment, and asked Ms Ardern how she saw the future relationship of the two nations.

She said New Zealand valued its strong relationship with China, and would engage in upgrades to its Free Trade Agreement in an open and transparent manner.

Asked about the role of women in leadership, Ms Ardern, who is New Zealand’s third female Prime Minister, said that New Zealand had spent years grappling with how to lift the numbers of women in leadership positions, and now had 30% female representation in parliament, local government and board leadership.

Chinese delegation leader Mao Youfeng said that the two countries had complementary economies and a bright and promising future together.

“We are continuing to develop better relationships and as long as we continue to respect each other’s core concerns and support one another, we will continue to bring benefits to both of our countries,” he said.

The CALP delegation, made up of senior public servants, has already travelled to Sydney and Canberra, and will also visit Christchurch and Melbourne before returning to China on 30 November.

While in Australia, the group met with former NSW Premier Bob Carr, Senators Simon Birmingham and Penny Wong, former Prime Minister John Howard, as well as senior public servants from Treasury and the office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The group will also be addressed by ANZSOG Dean and CEO Professor Ken Smith when they arrive in Melbourne.

About the China Advanced Leadership Program

The program, now in its 7th year, has introduced nearly 150 high-ranking Chinese public servants to Australian and New Zealand government and culture.

This year’s cohort includes 21 senior Central and Provincial government officials at the Director-General and Deputy Director General level from a range of departments including the Central Bureau of Statistics, Municipal Committees, Central Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Agriculture.

They have visited some important cultural sites, but most of the program involves learning about Australia and New Zealand and getting new perspectives on issues such as reducing road trauma, social welfare policy, anti-corruption measures, environmental protection, public sector reform and food safety.

The CALP program is a key part of ANZSOG’s international focus, and aims to build strong links between Australia, New Zealand and China, with both sides recognising they have much to learn from each other in the pursuit of excellence in public sector leadership.

Many of the Chinese participants from previous programs have moved on to hold key positions within China, building a valuable network and helping strengthen the bonds between the three nations.