Relations with New Zealand
Over the past twelve months there have been a series of meetings between senior Australian and New Zealand officials to discuss possible arrangements for closer economic co-operation between the two countries. The first such meeting took place in early November 1979 in Wellington and was attended by a number of Permanent Heads including myself. Since then there has been one meeting at Permanent Head level in Canberra. The next scheduled meeting is in Wellington on 10 and 11 December.
- The handling of these discussions, which has involved very detailed technical work relating to customs schedules, national trade practices, etc., etc., has been by the Department of Special Trade Relations. Since that Department was abolished several weeks ago the work has been taken over by the Department of Trade and Resources. Mr Scully (Secretary of the Department of Trade and Resources) has asked me if I would be free to accompany him and some other Permanent Heads to Wellington on this next meeting. I asked him if he thought it was necessary for me to go. His reply was that, although much of the discussion will be technical, he felt it highly desirable to signal to the New Zealanders the seriousness with which we were taking the political dimensions of the matter.
- If you agree, therefore, I should like to attend the Wellington meeting, leaving Canberra early on Wednesday 10 December and returning on the afternoon of Friday 12 December.2
[NAA: A1838, 37011/19/18, xx]