This month, Irish Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation Heather Humphreys led a very successful trade mission to New Zealand visiting Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.
New Zealand is a rapidly growing market for Irish companies. The country’s friendship with Ireland has dated back hundreds of years, more recently forming a strong and growing trade relationship. The similarities in language, legal systems and business culture have allowed Ireland to become a key investment location for New Zealand firms wishing to establish themselves in the European market, while New Zealand is increasingly seen as a key export market for Irish firms, particularly following the UK’s decision to leave the EU. In recent years, Irish firms across financial services, BPO, Digital Health and in particular agribusiness have had great success entering the market.
There is a deep and abiding relationship formed between Ireland’s and New Zealand’s agricultural industry. Stringent standards matched with continuous research and development and unmatched traceability standards have helped build Ireland’s image as a premier agricultural producer. This global reputation matched with a similar agricultural framework, focus and challenges make Ireland’s agrimachinery and agritech products and services a natural fit in the NZ market.
The mission centred around New Zealand’s National Fieldays, the largest Agricultural event in New Zealand, and indeed the Southern Hemisphere. Enterprise Ireland once again hosted an Irish Pavilion showcasing the some of the leading agricultural engineering coming from Ireland. This included firms such as Keenan who has built a world-wide reputation for its manufacturing quality and showcased its range of diet feeder wagons at the show; Abbey machinery exhibited their tankers and spreaders which are helping harness slurry better and increase both productivity from the soil and reduce environmental emissions; and Dairymaster the world leader in the manufacture of dairy parlour equipment and wearable devices that improve milk production on dairy farms.
The Minister spoke on Ireland’s prowess in producing world class agricultural machinery and agritech. With optimum grass growing conditions and unmatched research and development, Ireland’s dairy industry has given rise to a strong cohort of companies with solutions to reduce costs and boost production in New Zealand farms. During the event, Minister Humphreys met with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as well as Minister for Economic Development David Parker and Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor and discussed the advantages of the new EU-New Zealand comprehensive free trade agreement currently being negotiated.
Irish firm Combilift is one of the stand out success of Irish firms in New Zealand. Combilift is the world’s largest manufacturer of multi-directional forklifts. During the mission, the Minister attended a contract signing between Combilift and New Zealand partner MJH Engineering. Combilift has recently rolled out a range of new straddle carriers designed for the transport of heavy and oversized loads. In Christchurch, the Minister paid a visit to Lyttelton Port to see Combilift’s new Combi-XC Straddle Carrier in action. The Combi-XC machine was chosen for its effective design that allows it to transport shipping containers more efficiently than other alternatives.
During the visit, the Minister also attended the official opening of Irish firm Evros’s new office in Auckland. The company specialises in the design, supply, implementation and support of IT
infrastructure for organisations. The company became the 200th Enterprise Ireland backed company doing business in New Zealand.
Minister Humphreys officially announced Brendan O’Connell as Enterprise Ireland’s first presence based in New Zealand. This new presence will help expand Enterprise Ireland’s resources in the New Zealand market and will further support the entry and expansion of Irish companies in a key export market.
Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon joined the trade mission to New Zealand and welcomed the announcement which will support Irish industry to pursue realisable opportunities to support greater market diversification.
“Ireland and New Zealand have a long and very positive trade history, particularly in the agribusiness sector, and the Government is determined to build on that. We have similar agricultural markets with a common focus and challenges, so I am delighted to lead this Trade and Investment Mission comprising 11 cutting-edge Irish agribusinesses. The programme will focus on both supporting these companies to expand exports and attracting FDI to Ireland.”
– Heather Humphreys, Irish Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation