Patron: Her Excellency, The Right Honourable Dame Cindy Kiro, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand

Australia and ASEAN

Guest Speaker: Mr Andrew Cumpston
Deputy High Commissioner, Australian High Commission, Wellington

Event Date: Tuesday 12th September 2017
Event Time: 5:30 pm-7:00 pm

Event Location: Bell Gully
Level 21, 171 Featherston Street, Wellington.

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Mr Andrew Cumpston

Mr Andrew Cumpston

Andrew Cumpston is currently Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to New Zealand, having commenced the role in October 2015.   Prior to that he was Assistant Secretary of the Banks & Funds Branch at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), where he was responsible for Australia relationship with the World Bank, the Asian Development bank and the formation of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. He was also a board member of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Previously he has been Assistant Secretary to Budget Branch and also Senior Advisor to the Foreign Minister on development and economic policy. He has worked in DFAT/AusAID since 2005 as an economics and PFM specialist on the PNG, Philippines and Solomon Islands programs. Andrew was in Budget Group of the Department of Finance between 2002-2005 and began his Public Service career as a Graduate Economist in the Department of Education in 2000.

Andrew has a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Economics from Australian National University, a Graduate Certificate of Public Administration and a Masters of Science (Finance: Economic Policy) from the University of London.


Australia will be hosting the summit of Southeast Asian leaders in Sydney in March 2018. This will be only the second time the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders have met outside their own region for a dedicated summit, after former US President Barack Obama wooed them to California last year. Amid the economic and foreign policy challenges emanating from Washington, Beijing and London, it’s easy to overlook an event that perhaps offers Australia the best shot for its regional legacy under Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull leadership and his term of office (which could be his last term, judging by the opinion polls). The ASEAN summit offers Australia the opportunity to fashion a new relationship with its closest Asian neighbours when the regional outlook is very uncertain. While ASEAN gets scant attention and tends to be overshadowed by events within its individual members, the combined region is now Australia’s third-largest two-way trading partner after China and the European Union (and that’s pre-Brexit). Exports to this region are now larger than to the US and Europe (and close to overtaking Japan), but Australia still runs a trade deficit, implying ASEAN is an increasingly important part of the supply chain into Australia. The grouping offers the best prospects for new trade deal openings for Australia, ranging from the individual negotiations with Indonesia to potential changes to the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand arrangement (ANZFTA) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. It would be a big plus from both economic and diplomatic perspectives when their leaders sit down to talk with Australians over the Summit.

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