New Zealand is aiming to expand its education services abroad to treble the number of foreign students enrolled and to double the economic value of international education to 5 billion NZ dollars (4.1 billion U.S. dollars) over the next 15 years. Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce Tuesday released the first version of the \"International Education Leadership Statement,\" which \"sets bold aspirations for the growth\" that New Zealand wanted to achieve over the next 15 years. Doubling the economic value of international education to New Zealand was at the heart of the government\'s statement, said Joyce. He said the government regarded international education as a very important industry, not just for its own value, but for the role it could play in strengthening New Zealand\'s economic, cultural and social links with the world. \"As a trading nation, these links are vital as we work to strengthen ties and form new ones with our major trading partners across Asia, Europe and the Pacific.\" The leadership statement, which would be refined and developed with the sector over the next 12 months, also aimed to increase annual revenues from education services offshore to at least 500 million NZ dollars (410 million U.S. dollars). The number of international students enrolled in New Zealand providers offshore would rise from 3,000 to 10,000, and the number of international postgraduate students would double from 10,000 to 20,000. More international university students would also be given residency. The development of the statement, coupled with the establishment of Education New Zealand the new government agency set up to oversee and grow the international education sector would provide a sharper focus and give the sector a real boost, said Joyce.