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Jessica Mutch: Indonesia a land of opportunity for NZ

opinion Jessica Mutch

By Jessica Mutch ONE News Deputy Political Editor

Published: 5:09PM Monday April 16, 2012 Source: ONE News

After a few hours here, I can say that Indonesia is fascinating, a country of real contrasts.

There are several reasons why this trip to Indonesia is significant. Firstly, in January Indonesia officially became part of the ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Deal. This opens up a whole new set of opportunities for a little country like us.

I've been speaking with business people who are part of the delegation travelling with the Prime Minister and a lot of them see huge potential for growth. For Silver Fern Farms, Indonesia is their second largest market behind the US. They export high end beef for the hotel and restaurant sector right through to edible offal.

Secondly, Indonesia has a population of 240 million making it the fourth biggest country in the world. Two way trade with Indonesia is already worth $1.5 billion so tapping into a little more of that market could give us a big boost.

But the undercurrent to these trade talks is going to be human rights issues. We saw it with China and concerns are already being raised about Indonesia.

Catherine Delahunty from the Greens is urging the Prime Minister to raise human rights issues with the Indonesian Prime Minister. It is always a hard challenge for New Zealand because we have a reputation for punching above our weight, but at the end of the day we're somewhat insignificant to a country like Indonesia.

On a lighter note, the trip didn't get off to a great start for me- after being awake for about 20 hours, cameraman Sam and I headed out to shoot a piece to camera (you'll see it on the news at 6pm).

I'm standing on the edge of a fountain getting ready and the microphone slips and the  batteries fall into the water. With one quick swirl they disappeared down the drain - I narrowly missed a very expensive microphone going down the gurgler too.

Luckily the well prepared cameraman had spares and had to brave dense Jakarta traffic to put in more. So, batteries replaced, Sam was standing on one side of the road and I stood on the end of the fountain roundabout so we could show the rush of traffic between us.

After constant gridlocked traffic for ten minutes suddenly it cleared (typical!) I looked up and saw a military motorcade driving through - it was the New Zealand Prime Minister.

So I'm standing there all alone on this deserted street with Sam on the other side of the road.  John Key didn't see Sam and clearly thought I was a one person welcome party over excited about his arrival. He gave me a hard time about it at the first stand up.

Things are looking up though after a few hours sleep. We'll keep you posted.

What do you think? Have your say on the messageboard below.

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