The centenary year of Anzac is a fitting time to reflect on the unique relationship Australia and New Zealand share.

Our mutual love of sport is on display as we jointly host the Cricket World Cup, including the competitive side of the relationship when Australia and New Zealand meet on Saturday at Eden Park. Sibling rivalry if you like.

We are enterprising nations that also share strong economic ties with great prospects for future cooperation in areas such as infrastructure development.

Both of our countries have ambitious infrastructure programmes and this is an area where Australia is particularly strong and has much expertise to offer in financing, construction and operation.

During this visit I am leading a delegation of some of Australia’s leading infrastructure firms, here to explore opportunities for collaboration. The reconstruction effort in Christchurch is of particular focus – a city whose resilience is something to behold. Auckland’s infrastructure programme also holds much interest.

Australian firms are indeed already active in New Zealand. Leighton, for instance, has been involved here for more than a decade – in roads and telecommunications – projects like the 27km Transmission Gully motorway north of Wellington and in the Ultra Fast Broadband project.

The Australia-New Zealand Leadership Forum is also running this week and we’ll be looking to build on our existing bilateral achievements such as the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (ANZCERTA ).

The agreement is one of the world’s most comprehensive and effective free trade agreements. Since it began in 1983 the two-way trade in goods between our two countries has expanded at an amazing average annual growth rate of 8%.

From Australia’s perspective more than 16,000 of our businesses export to New Zealand, compared with just under 9000 exporting to the US, and less than 6000 exporting to China.

Our shared goal of increased economic growth through trade liberalisation, for example, has already provided a foundation for further trade negotiations.

The ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) is one example; the first free trade agreement Australia and New Zealand have jointly negotiated with third countries.

We have also been actively working with 10 other Asia- Pacific countries to bring the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) negotiations to a successful conclusion.

Significant progress has been made recently on the TPP, which has great potential to increase trade and investment between 12 economies that together account for almost 40 per cent of global GDP.

Bi-lateral agreements concluded separately by Australia and New Zealand are also important.

China is both New Zealand and Australia’s number-one trading partner. For some time New Zealand has had the edge on us, having had a free trade agreement in place with China since 2008.

This has provided considerable advantages in industries such as dairy.

In response, our industry was also looking for the type of outcome, particularly in dairy, that has served New Zealand so well, in our own free trade negotiations with China.

We managed to achieve a very strong agreement with China across agriculture and horticulture and in other areas that align with Australia’s strengths, including a broad range of services which have gained unprecedented levels of access.

Yes, we did very well in dairy which makes us highly competitive into the Chinese market, but it also presents new opportunities with New Zealand for collaboration and investment as we share the same of objectives of providing high quality product into this burgeoning market.

While the spirit of competition between Australia and New Zealand endures, so too does that of cooperation.

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