HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

New Australian High Commissioner visits
On Monday morning at 9.30am, the newly appointed Australian High Commissioner to New Zealand and the Cook Islands, His Excellency, Michael Potts, presented his letter of introduction to Prime Minister Hon Henry Puna at the Office of the Prime Minister.
Also presented was the Australian Prime Minister’s acceptance of our PM’s invitation to attend the Pacific Leader’s Forum.
After some 30 minutes of discussions with the PM, the High Commissioner met with members of the media in the Cabinet room.
The High Commissioner was accompanied by Charlie Jebb, First Secretary, Australian High Commission, Wellington, NZ and Andrew McNee, Director of Human Development, AusAid, Canberra.
Also present was our Secretary for Foreign Affairs Jim Gosselin who was accompanied by several officials from his office.
Potts, who is a career diplomat with over 29 years experience behind him, said it was his first visit to the Cook Islands and he was very pleased to make this visit. He has only been in the job for some 8 days.
He said he was very keen to come over early as the relationship with the Cooks was an important one and with the Pacific Leader’s Forum was coming up soon it was a terrific opportunity to contribute and help this to be a good meeting.
Potts said Australia had a good bilateral relationship with the Cooks and that the relationship was strong. He referred to the number of Cook Islanders now living and working in Australia.
He said the Australian government would continue to help Cook Islands security through the patrol boat programme and Police. The Australian government was also keen on assisting to develop sport through the Australian outreach programme.
Australia continues to provide A$3million a year in aid through the harmonization programme with NZ.
Potts said the Australian Prime Minister was looking forward to attending the Forum. He said she welcomed the theme which was, “Large Pacific Island Ocean States-the Pacific Challenge.”
He said Australia supported the sustainable management of marine/oceanic resources.
Mr Potts was most recently Ambassador to Austria and Permanent Representative, Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations (UN), Vienna, a position he held since August 2009. He was previously First Assistant Secretary in the International Organisations and Legal Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and part time Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues, a position he held from January 2007 until June 2009.
He served as High Commissioner in Port Moresby (2003-06) and prior to that held the position of First Assistant Secretary, International Division of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet from 2001 to 2002.
From 1999-2001, Mr Potts was First Assistant Secretary, International Organisations and Legal Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He has also held the positions of Assistant Secretary, Trade Policy Issues and Industrials Branch (1998-99); Assistant Secretary, Mainland South-East Asia Branch (1997-98) and Assistant Secretary, ASEAN Bilateral Branch (1994-97).
Mr Potts has also served as Ambassador in Hanoi (1991-94); Counsellor, Australian Mission to the United Nations in New York (1985-88) and Acting High Commissioner in Lusaka (1980-83). He also had postings in Madrid (1973-76), Vientiane (1977-79) and Dar es Salaam (1980). Mr Potts holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with First Class Honours in History from the University of Sydney. He speaks Spanish and has an understanding of French, Lao and Vietnamese. He is married.

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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