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NZ parliamentarians call for more cooperation on energy with Taiwan

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A parliamentary delegation from New Zealand, led by MP for Southland and Chair of the Social Services and Community Select Committee Joseph Mooney (fifth left) and MP for Taieri and Co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Taiwan Ingrid Leary (fou

Taipei, April 16 (CNA) A parliamentary delegation from New Zealand called for more cooperation between Taiwan and New Zealand on Tuesday, especially in the area of clean energy, after visiting one of Taiwan's geothermal hot springs during the six-day visit.

The delegation, led by Joseph Mooney, MP for Southland and chair of the Social Services and Community Select Committee, and Ingrid Leary, MP for Taieri and co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Taiwan, met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Tuesday.

During the meeting at the Presidential Office, Tsai said that she looks forward to the two countries strengthening exchanges in areas such as the digital economy, indigenous culture, and clean energy in the future, according to a news release issued by the office.

Tsai also noted that New Zealand's government opened its doors to pineapples from Taiwan last week, marking an important achievement in deepening bilateral cooperation.

In his remarks, Mooney said the delegation visited Hsinchu Science Park, where they were impressed by Taiwan's innovations and technological strength in the information and communications industry, as well as the close collaboration between academia, government and industry.

In terms of clean energy, Mooney highlighted it as an area where Taiwan and New Zealand could collaborate, citing New Zealand's technologies capable of providing Taiwan with assistance, particularly in geothermal energy. They also toured Taiwan's geothermal hot springs , he added.

At a press conference later held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Mooney talked about their visit to the Atayal tribe in Hsinchu on April 13, saying that experience was special.

Apart from the indigenous relationships between Taiwan and New Zealand, the connection between the two countries is also reflected in an economic cooperation agreement signed in 2013, he added.

Leary, who has been to Taiwan before, said that the highlight of this visit so far was the opportunity to meet and talk to the survivors of the White Terror Period during a visit to the National Human Rights Museum.

"I can understand now why you hold so firmly to your values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law. These are values that we share very deeply in New Zealand," said the former journalist.

As for whether New Zealand intends to be a partner in the "Pillar Two" of AUKUS, a trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, Mooney stated that there have been many discussions recently, but no decisions have been made at the moment.

"It's something that will be considered very carefully before any decisions are made," he added.

Other parliamentary members of the delegation included Sam Uffindell, chairperson of the Heath Select Committee; Andy Foster, chairperson of the Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee; ACT Party Whip Todd Stephenson; and Jenny Salesa, Labour Party spokesperson for Customs and Ethnic Communities.

The delegation is in Taiwan on a visit that will conclude on Thursday.

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