New Zealand’s Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has wrapped up her first official visit to Croatia by meeting with Croatia’s Minister for Labour and Pensions System Dr Mirando Mrsic, where the two discussed the signing of a social security agreement between the two countries.
“I’m confident we’ll sign the social security agreement with Croatia sometime in the near future,” said Bennett after meeting with Mrsic in Zagreb. The NZ-Croatia Social Security Agreement is currently in negotiation, and signs are positive with Minister Mrsic indicating that he thought it would be possible to find agreement shortly.
Bennett, who represents the constituent of Waitakere as a Member of Parliament in New Zealand where around 60,000 Croatians (or New Zealanders with Croatian descent) reside, also had a series of bilateral meetings whilst in Croatia with Ministers including Croatia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Policy and Youth Milanka Opacic, and Minister for Construction and Physical Planning Ms Anka Mrak-Tartas. On Thursday Bennett announced the visa free waiver scheme for Croatians travelling to New Zealand.
Whilst in Croatia the NZ Minister also travelled to Pula and Opatija. In Opatija she was met and hosted by the Mayor Mr Ivo Dujmic. Bennett was impressed with the area’s economic success particularly driven by the health tourism sector. The reason for being in Opatija however was to meet with the NZ-Croatia cultural group Kralj Tomislav, Klapa Samoana and Te Ihi Connections, who were all performing together at the Open Air Summer Stage in Opatija as part of their tour of Croatia.
“There is a strong relationship and connection between the two countries,” said Bennett before flying out of Croatia on the weekend.