Mayor Leads High-powered Roundtable On Kiwi Trade Link With South America, Asia

Published: Fri 19 Apr 2024 06:27 AM
Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown has initiated a high-powered roundtable to bring a long-mooted trade link to life.
The Mayor’s plan is to position Auckland to serve as a vital air and freight hub between Asia and South America, facilitating e-commerce trade, tourism, and education and mediation services, and thereby providing an economic boost to New Zealand.
The idea is a long-standing ambition of leaders and has received renewed attention following the creation of the New Zealand Brazil Business Chamber, which is pitching a direct flight from Auckland to São Paulo. Such a flight could bring in an additional $100m in trade in its first year and up to $5b in annual benefits to annual GDP over time.
The Mayor is also keen to see direct flights to India, something he discussed during the trade delegation to India last year.
Today he brought representatives of Brazil, China, India and Japan, airlines, and government agencies together for the first time for a stocktake of opportunities, and to discuss a potential path forward for the ‘Southern Cross’ project, which denotes the Southern Cross featuring on the flags of both Brazil and New Zealand.
The mayor says bringing officials together is the natural next step for Auckland and that it geographically makes sense.
“New Zealand is a victim of the flat Mercator projection which shows us at the bottom of most maps. Actually, the world is a globe and Auckland is the most logical connection to South America for India, Asia, and Japan so it makes sense, but we need to get everyone clear on the next steps forward. I think we have achieved that today.”
The meeting resolved to proceed with commissioning a high-level route feasibility study to inform further discussions with airlines and the New Zealand Government.
Mayor Brown says Auckland loses money every day that goes by without the link in place. Trade between China and South America alone has reached $480 billion, about twice the size of the New Zealand economy.
“Auckland should be a part of the route that connects these powerhouse economies. Our geographic location makes us the fastest one-stop to Brazil from locations below Hong Kong and Guangzhou's latitude. Auckland already serves as a hub within a globalised economic system. It makes too much sense to not do it.”
“I’m told the demand for this would be all-year round, it operationally makes sense, and a handful of airlines could benefit from it. Let’s get on with it.”
Brazil NZ Chamber of Commerce CEO Marcelo Menoita says Brazil has one of the largest economies in the world.
“Brazil has a population of over 203 million people, and establishing a direct air link could bring up to $5 billion in benefits to New Zealand’s annual GDP over time. There’s huge potential for both Brazil, and New Zealand, and we’re looking forward to working with Auckland and São Paulo to bring this connection together. With the Southern Cross Project, we can connect Asia to South America through Auckland, and Oceania to Europe though to São Paulo.”

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