21 February 2011

Improved US Visa access could boost US-New Zealand relations

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Rugby could be New Zealand's ticket to good relations with the US, a new study suggests.

US visa

Rugby and improved US Visa access could boost international relations with New Zealand, a report suggests.

The study, titled Pacific Partners: the Future of US-New Zealand Relations, was carried out by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington and experts assembled by the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs.

A number of ideas to improve relations between the two countries were suggested by the study, including an All Black tour of the US, improved US Visa access and closer collaboration on national security.

Former Prime Minister Jim Bolger, chairman of the NZ-US Council, welcomed the study and described it as "a serious, scholarly and forward-looking assessment of the relationship".

The study’s recommendations included:

It also suggests sports diplomacy could play a part and says an All Black tour of the US would help promote that.

Prime Minister John Key opened the US-NZ partnership forum in Christchurch, saying international relations between the two countries was in the best shape in years.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent visit to New Zealand culminated in the signing of the Wellington Declaration - a high-level statement of intent for both countries to strengthen their relationship.


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