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Key pitches NZ to Indonesian businesses

16:23 Mon Apr 16 2012
PM John Key and major Kiwi business leaders are hoping for strengthening ties within Asia (Getty)
PM John Key and major Kiwi business leaders are hoping for strengthening ties within Asia (Getty)

New Zealand and its closest Asian neighbour are set to become closer with new economic ties and a resumed air service signalled during Prime Minister John Key's whirlwind trade trip.

Mr Key told an Indonesia and New Zealand business seminar in the capital of Jakarta on Monday that he wants to see trade links between the countries grow - but that will only start by boosting awareness at both ends.

"For many New Zealanders, Indonesia is still one of the great unknowns of Asia. It's an amazingly complex and diverse country," Mr Key said.

"I want to see New Zealanders and Indonesians becoming more familiar with each other's countries and with the opportunities to travel and do business."

Mr Key is leading a trade delegation to Indonesia, accompanied by representatives of 26 New Zealand businesses, hoping to tap into the almost $1 trillion economy.

Its booming middle-class is demanding high quality goods and services that New Zealand can offer.

Mr Key told the seminar that relations between the two countries can only grow with Indonesia this year ratifying the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand free trade agreement.

"New Zealand is interested in more than just Indonesia's rapidly growing consumer market," Mr Key said.

"We see the FTA as a means of developing business partnerships, two-way investment and a vibrant trade in services."

He says New Zealand can offer Indonesia a high-quality source of food, along with technical knowledge and expertise to help develop and build infrastructure and harness natural resources, including geothermal energy.

It wants to gain a bigger chunk of the 70,000 Indonesian students studying abroad - only 600 currently study in New Zealand.

A move by Indonesia's national airline Garuda to resume services to Auckland, which were scrapped in 2006, and Air New Zealand's plans to fly direct to Bali were also welcomed by Mr Key who doubles as Tourism Minister.