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The Ambassador of New Zealand's discourse to the Holy Father

Your Holiness,

It is a great honour for me to present to you the letter accrediting me as New Zealand's Ambassador to the Holy See.

New Zealand greatly appreciates the contribution that the Catholic Church, and many of its members, have made to our society. Many Catholics have achieved distinction in fields of public service, and Catholic schools have contributed a distinctive element of our educational system. The Church has been an important voice in public debates, particularly on social and moral issues.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and the Holy See in 1973, we have cooperated closely in the international arena, particularly the social and humanitarian fields, reflecting our shared values. While we believe these values to be universal, they have in many cases been first articulated in Europe, growing out of the Judaeo-Christian teachings which are part of our heritage. We value the unique insights that the Holy See contributes in formal and informal settings, reflecting the in-depth knowledge that its comprehensive network of representatives around the world is able to mobilise.

New Zealand believes that the striving for peace, justice, human rights, and care for the environment must begin at home. Our Governments over a number of years have made a genuine commitment to redressing past wrongs, particularly in relation to the indigenous Maori people, and the dignity of the individual is a central consideration for our legal system and at all levels of government. New Zealand has also set an example in responding to the global challenge of climate change by introducing the world's first emissions trading scheme that applies to all greenhouse gases in all sectors of activity.

Beyond our country's shores, New Zealand feels a particular sense of responsibility for the wellbeing of our neighbours in the South Pacific. The primary focus of our international development cooperation programme is on these often vulnerable societies which have strong family ties with our country. We work with our neighbours in regional institutions, and we have contributed to peacekeeping and reconstruction in countries that have suffered violent disturbances.

But while our neighbourhood is our starting point, New Zealand has a vocation as a global citizen. Just as our engagement in the economic sphere is well diversified, we are mindful of the interdependence of nations wherever human welfare is concerned.

New Zealanders have a particular interest in disarmament. In this field we have taken leading roles in many institutions and processes, currently chairing the Nuclear Suppliers' Group.

Care for the environment is also dear to our hearts. New Zealand took the lead, at the end of 2009, to establish the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases as a means of pursuing the twin goals of meeting global food security objectives and tackling greenhouse gas emissions. We will be hosting a Ministerial meeting in Rome later this month, in conjunction with the annual Conference-of the United -Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, at which Ministers will be invited to sign the Charter formally establishing this new body. New Zealand- Ministers also play an active role in the discussions arising from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

New Zealand sees interfaith and intercultural initiatives as valuable for improving global security. We co-sponsor the Asia-Pacific Regional inter-faith dialogue, and support practical projects under the auspices of the Alliance of Civilisations. Our domestic interfaith community is active in educational and community development at the local level, with strong Government support.

I take this opportunity of drawing the attention of Your Holiness to New Zealand's candidacy for a seat on the United Nations Security Council for the period 2015 – 2016. We believe that New Zealand can make a distinctive and valuable contribution to the work of that body, bringing the perspectives of a smaller but active member of the international community.

In closing, I would like to convey that New Zealanders followed with keen interest last month's ceremony for the Beatification of His Holiness Pope John Paul II. We are also very grateful for Your Holiness's prayers and kind wishes in connection with the tragic earthquake that struck our city of Christchurch on 22 February this year. And we recognise that, like New Zealand, the Holy See faces continuing challenges in dealing with the fast-changing world in which we live.

I take the liberty of conveying to Your Holiness my personal good wishes, as well as those of the Government that I have the honour to represent, for the continuation of your Pontificate. I -look forward to working with officials of the Holy See in pursuit of our shared objectives.

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St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 21, 2019

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