Cull leading longer than usual trip to China

Dave Cull
Dave Cull will lead a four person delegation to China just months before he stands down from the mayoralty. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull will lead a longer than usual delegation to China just months before he stands down.

The four-strong delegation headed by Mr Cull will depart Dunedin on July 12 and return on July 27, following engagements in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Qingyuan.

Mr Cull will be joined on the trip by deputy mayor Chris Staynes, Enterprise Dunedin director John Christie and Enterprise Dunedin's Project China co-ordinator, Hui Zhang.

The wives of Mr Cull and Cr Staynes would accompany them on the trip, but would be paying their own way, as would Cr Staynes, Mr Christie said.

It was not yet known how much the trip would cost, but the council would pick up the tab for flights, accommodation and other costs.

The delegation aimed to strengthen mutual friendship agreements, as well as business, technology, film and education ties in China, and was longer because of the number of centres and engagements involved, he said.

That included re-signing a co-operation partnership between Enterprise Dunedin and the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission, with changes designed to support joint education projects.

The existing agreement was considered one of Dunedin's most important international agreements, given about 1000 Chinese students visited the city to study each year, he said.

The delegation would also promote Dunedin's film credentials at the launch of a New Zealand Film Festival in Shanghai.

The delegation would also mark the 25th anniversary of the Dunedin-Shanghai sister city relationship and the University of Otago's 150th year while in Shanghai and Beijing.

There were no specific plans for farewell events while Mr Cull was in China, "however, we have made our colleagues in China aware of Mr Cull's decision not to re-stand for election", Mr Christie said.


I do hope that Mayor Cull and his team will be raising the Democracy Movement in Hong Kong, the plight of the Uighugurs and Chinese secret service operations against China critic Anne- Marie Brady during the visit. Maybe the ODT will give him a list of questions to ask about press freedom too.

Hmmm, culls last hurrah at spending ratepayers money before he's gone.

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