News Release

NZ PM Luxon in PH Thursday; visit highlights importance of PH, PBBM’s dev’t agenda, says outgoing NZ Ambassador

New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon is coming for an official visit tomorrow,Thursday, signifying the importance of the Philippines and President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s development agenda, outgoing New Zealand Ambassador Peter Francis Tavita Kell said on Wednesday.

“He (Luxon) has been very clear that he wants to come to the Philippines. He knows the Philippines as you’ve explained. And he knows that it’s important,” Kell said during his farewell call on President Marcos in Malacañang Wednesday.

“And he knows what you’re trying to do and he wants to support. Having— putting it simply and so… his mission is to show the rest of his delegation [the] 25 tops business leaders. They should be doing more in this part of the world, they should be doing more in the Philippines,” he added.

Luxon is arriving in the Philippines for an official visit and will meet the President at the Palace Thursday afternoon.

His visit will highlight the two countries’ commitment to stronger ties as they move towards the 60th commemoration in 2026 of the establishment of their bilateral relations.

The New Zealand envoy said his tenure was briefly extended for the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Manila, who is bringing with him New Zealand’s top business leaders.

Kell, who learned Filipino while in the country, said he is confident that he’ll leave his post with the Philippine-New Zealand relations stronger than ever.

“Pero may malakas akong kumpiyansang aalis ako dito ng may matibay na ugnayang pang New Zealand at Pilipinas,” he said, hoping Filipinos won’t forget him.

“Kaya’t dito, gusto ko, gusto ko sana ipahayag sa inyo na maraming salamat. Taos puso akong nagpapasalamat sa inyong suporta, sa inyong pagtutulong sa aming bansa, at para palakasin ang ugnayan ng New Zealand at Pilipinas,” he further stated.

As a response, President Marcos expressed gratitude to Kell for his initiatives in the last four years to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the Philippines and New Zealand.

“Asahan mo at maraming salamat sa iyong magandang salita at kami naman ay nagagalak na sa panahon mo dito sa bansang Pilipinas at kasama ang aming, ang aming mamamayan ay nakita mo at naramdaman mo ang kabutihan ng ugali ng Pilipino,” President Marcos said.

The Philippines-New Zealand formal diplomatic relations span 57 years since its establishment on July 6, 1966.

Last year, New Zealand ranked as the Philippines’ 28th trading partner (out of 230) with total trade amounting to US$495.37 million. It is the country’s 38th export destination and 24th import source.

The Philippines has a US$361.94 million trade deficit with New Zealand.

In terms of tourism, a total of 29,272 tourist arrivals from New Zealand were recorded in 2023, up from just 17,503 in 2022, making New Zealand the 22nd source of visitors to the Philippines.

Pending the results of the 2023 NZ Census on May 29, 2024, there are an estimated 79,998 Filipinos in New Zealand (72,612 based on the 2018 NZ Census, from only 40,347 in 2013 and 16,938 in 2006). *|PND*