DECEMBER 21 — Mayor Annise D. Parker met with the Honorable Steven Joyce, Minister of Economic Development of New Zealand at City Hall last week to celebrate the recently established direct flight between Houston and New Zealand and discuss resulting economic development opportunities.
The inaugural flight of the new route commenced on December 16th, making it the 18th non-stop flight route opened during Mayor Parker’s administration. This particular flight has gained international attention, as it also distinguishes Houston’s Bush InterContinental airport as the only airport in the western hemisphere with direct connections to all inhabitable continents.
The Hon. Steven Joyce, who flew to Houston on the new flight, met with a number of Houston-area stakeholders, including the Greater Houston Partnership, the Texas Medical Center and NASA to familiarize his delegation with some of the key economic drivers of the region. Minister Joyce immediately saw opportunities for expanded trade and economic exchange in areas connected to agriculture and livestock and medical technologies, and pledged continued outreach from New Zealand.
Mayor Parker noted the importance of the new route, which served not only to connect Houston with a vibrant economy on the pacific rim, but beyond, strengthening Houston’s overall ties with the burgeoning ASEAN bloc nations and Australia. “Business occurs when people have the opportunity to meet face to face. This new route is an important first step, reducing barriers to connecting and interacting. The City of Houston is interested in the steps that follow, and working with you to move forward on some of the linkages created during your visit.”