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153 Minute from Laurie to Acting Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs

Canberra, 1 May 1981


New Zealand: 'Closer Economic Relations'

The visit to Wellington this month by Mr Anthony, which was in doubt, has now been confirmed after a discussion between Mr Anthony and the Prime Minister. He will go over on Friday, 8 May, for an informal weekend in the company of Brian Talboys, and be joined by Scully, Anderson and Lind from Trade late on Sunday, 10 May.

  1. This round of talks will focus exclusively on the hard core of remaining problems defying solution at any but a political level. On our side, the dairy industry is still the biggest problem, and on theirs, the issues of export incentives, the final removal of all import licensing and the list of imports to which tariff reductions and progressive removal of licensing restrictions shall not apply, are the object of Australian requests that the New Zealanders are not prepared to meet.
  2. Mr Anthony has been given a Cabinet mandate to conduct these negotiations on behalf of his colleagues. There is very little we can contribute to these talks, although we are, of course, fully au fait with the technical issues involved. I would think we would only need to have someone from Canberra present if you feel the Departmental flag needed to be seen. Otherwise I'm sure Trade would be happy to include Geoff Bentley in the official delegation. We understand that Treasury and PM&C will be represented. So, of course will Primary Industry and Industry and Commerce, the former probably by its Minister.
  3. We will be doing a submission to the Minister asking him to brief Mr Anthony on the Springbok issue,1 either for the purpose of having Mr Anthony raise it himself, or at least enabling him to handle [it] if it is raised with him.
  4. I would be glad of your guidance on the matter of representation.

[NAA: A1838, 370/1/19/18, xxiii]

  • 1 The South African Springbok team was to begin a tour of New Zealand in July. There was widespread condemnation in Australia and New Zealand of the South African government's apartheid policy.
Last Updated: 3 June 2013
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