The NZ US Partnership Forum provided the opportunity to present recommendations for what should come next in the relationship between New Zealand and the United States.
There was overwhelming support for New Zealand to lobby for entrepreneur visas, similar to the E-3 visas granted to Australians. New Zealand has a large pool of entrepreneurs that want to drive the creation of new businesses into the United States, using New Zealand expertise and connections.
President Obama and his administration are in favour of entrepreneurship visas, as are the New Zealand government. It is clear that e-category visas would make a significant difference to our ability to build commercial ties in the United States.
The point was made at the forum that as it is Congress who makes decisions on immigration and visas, New Zealand will need to lobby to make sure we don’t miss out.
Some of the other key recommendations pitched at the forum were:
- For President Obama to visit New Zealand. This would help to generate goodwill, and further strengthen recent relationship improvements. T’he last US President to visit New Zealand was Bill Clinton in 1999 for the APEC Summit.
- As New Zealand now holds a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council, New Zealand and the United States should take the opportunity to cooperate on reforming the organisation’s working methods and improving its effectiveness and responsiveness to critical global issues. New Zealand and the United States bring different perspectives as elected and permanent members, but our record of working together in multilateral forums leaves us well placed to work to bridge these differences.
- Wellington and Washington should work to ensure that a high-standard TPP agreement is completed in the near future. A failure to ratify the agreement would send a negative signal to the global trading regime and dent the ambitions of the U.S. rebalance to Asia, which needs to demonstrate economic as well as security components.