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The last post

20th December 2011 by Andrew Matheson, | No Comments

I’m not sure that all good things must come to an end, as the proverb would have us believe, but sadly this one must.  After more than three years in a satisfying, demanding, enjoyable and fascinating diplomatic assignment, the time has come for me to leave the Philippines. The last few weeks have seen me and

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Constructive ideas against corruption

8th December 2011 by Andrew Matheson, | No Comments

‘The forum for constructive ideas’.  That’s the by-line for the prominent Philippine business group the Makati Business Club, which earlier this month marked its 30th anniversary.   At the ceremony to mark the occasion I heard President Aquino highlight the organisation’s role in addressing public policy issues that go beyond business, including its focus against

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Rugby tourism

2nd December 2011 by Andrew Matheson, | No Comments

More than a month after the event, people I meet are still congratulating me on New Zealand winning the Rugby World Cup.  They realise what it means for the country — not just for the All Blacks to win this trophy, but for New Zealand to have staged such a successful tournament.  As I’ve said

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Partners in business

29th November 2011 by Andrew Matheson, | No Comments

This embassy means business.   While the word ‘diplomacy’ conjures up pictures of going to meetings, writing reports and, dare I say it, attending functions, we actually spend a lot of our time rolling up our sleeves and working closely with New Zealand companies. One of the embassy’s key goals is to advance and protect

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Trade talks make progress

21st November 2011 by Andrew Matheson, | 6 Comments

Good news for consumers and businesses.  Trade negotiators around the world are scoring some big wins, as they work on agreements to make it easier for businesses to succeed internationally and give consumers better access to products and services. The circle is now complete for the ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement, or AANZFTA, which

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The right to know

16th November 2011 by Andrew Matheson, | No Comments

In many countries citizens have the right to get information about issues of public concern.   But how well can these rights be exercised in practice?  The results of what might be the largest comparative test of this were published recently, and they contain some good news for both New Zealand and the Philippines. Researchers

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There’s gold in them there hills

10th November 2011 by Andrew Matheson, | 1 Comment

Sitting on a gold mine.   That’s how we usually describe someone with a lot of assets to their name.  It’s true of the Philippines too but at the same time it’s not — the country is sitting on a vast amount of gold, but very little of it is being mined. The numbers are

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Troubled waters

4th November 2011 by Andrew Matheson, | 2 Comments

A ship, a dark night and a reef.  When the container ship Rena ran aground last month while heading for the port of Tauranga in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty, significant environmental damage threatened.  Certainly a large amount of fuel oil spilled from the vessel, much of which washed up on nearby coasts.  Containers toppled

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Success at last!

25th October 2011 by Andrew Matheson, | 2 Comments

So, we made it. In the face of a spirited and proficient performance by a charged-up French side, New Zealand’s national rugby team the All Blacks secured a victory in the Rugby World Cup in the weekend.    All Blacks captain Richie McCaw raised the coveted Webb Ellis trophy to the roars of appreciation from

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Milestone United Nations publication

20th October 2011 by Andrew Matheson, | No Comments

For half a century, New Zealand has been making a niche contribution to the United Nations through producing the United Nations handbook.  We see this as one a way of demystifying the UN and helping people around the world understand its work and objectives. If you want to know something about the UN, chances are

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