The Prime Minister’s recent trip to India to cement closer trade ties highlighted another area where Southland has been a leader.

Two-way trade between our countries is already worth more than $1 billion a year and we want to boost that further.  Finalising a Free Trade Agreement with India was always going to be a complex process, but New Zealand is making good progress towards the conclusion of the deal, scheduled for early next year.

However, it was the announcement of a new sports scholarship and academic exchange programme between India and New Zealand that got my attention.

Southern Institute of Technology has been leading the way in India for some time.  The influx of Indian students has been a cultural, educational and economic boost to Invercargill.  Nice to have that reflected by the Prime Minister!