It is often cheaper to fly across the Tasman than it is to fly between the North and South Islands.
New Zealand is closer to the east coast of Australia than much of the rest of the country.
We speak more or less the same language, have similar cultures and the many things we have in common are more important than the few which divide us.
Australia is our nearest significant neighbour and provides a market about five times bigger than we have at home.
There is no doubt we need them but the traffic is not all one way, Australia needs us too.
If it is to have the influence and power in the South Pacific to which it aspires, our co-operation and support are essential.
We both have a lot to gain and little to loose from bridging the Tasman and the single economic market to which the government is committed is a vital plank in the bridge.
Commerce Minister Simon Power reiterated the importance of a seamless operating market for Australian and New Zealand businesses in a speech at the Institute of International Affairs seminar.
“Our ambition is that a New Zealand company can conduct its business as easily in Australia as it can at home, and vice-versa,” Mr Power said.
“The easier we can make it for companies to operate in both New Zealand and Australia by removing unnecessary barriers, the greater the opportunities for business to make substantive productivity gains and take up new opportunities that will underpin long-term business growth.”
He said the government has identified a framework of principles and outcomes for accelerating the benefits for business which include:
- Enabling trans-Tasman businesses to file company information only once while meeting the requirements of both governments.
- Establishing a single set of accounting standards.
- Establishing a single insolvency proceeding.
- Further exploring the sharing of competition and consumer regulations, and cross representation on the New Zealand Commerce Commission and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Changes in immigration and customs controls have made the trip between Australia and New Zealand faster and easier for people. The changes Power is aiming for will make Trans Tasman business easier too.