Watch live: Ardern to meet with new Aussie PM in Sydney

NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Tue, 7 Jun 2022, 3:50pm

Watch live: Ardern to meet with new Aussie PM in Sydney

NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Tue, 7 Jun 2022, 3:50pm

Jacinda Ardern will travel to Sydney this week to meet with Australia's new prime minister, Anthony Albanese.

They will have dinner on Thursday evening.

She was pleased she would be the first foreign leader, from her understanding, to meet with Albanese.

In the coming week, Ardern said New Zealand would welcome Samoan Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mata'afa.

Ardern will leave New Zealand late Thursday afternoon, 9 June, and return the evening of Friday, 10 June.

She didn't want to set expectations around what could happen around the policy ahead of the pair's meeting.

On any changes to Australia's 501 deportation policy, Ardern said she had been very clear to any Australia head this was a significant issue for New Zealand.

"This is an issue for New Zealand that reaches beyond political parties."

New Zealand's concern had been some extreme example of people who had no to little connection to New Zealand being deported to New Zealand and then there being anti-social behaviour.

"This is the first engagement with the Prime Minister, it will be a positive one," she said, adding that she would raise these issues and see where they could be taken.

The Pacific Island Forum, and members themselves had said, that the number one issue was climate change.

The PM also announced Monkeypox is now a notifiable infectious disease.

Ardern said at this time, there was no known or suspected cases of Monkeypox and the risk was low to moderate.

On the spate of shootings in Auckland, Ardern said: "the issue we have right now is there is escalation, no question."

The police needed to be supported, she said.

"Our job is to make sure they have enough police officers...and the legislation around firearms that they need," she said.

Policies around certain guns being prohibited was already in place, she said.

Ardern is fronting her first post-Cabinet press conference since returning from the United States last week.

While Ardern was abroad, Acting Prime Minister Grant Robertson had been filling in.

Ardern has indicated her keenness to meet with Albanese.

New Zealand leaders typically try to be among the first heads of government to visit Australia following a change of government.

Albanese's Labour party won last month's Australian election. He has made no secret of his ambitions in the area of foreign policy. He attended a meeting of the quad in Japan within days of being sworn in, and this week flew to Indonesia.

His foreign minister, Penny Wong, has won plaudits for her engagement in the Pacific, touring Samoa and Tonga in her first weeks in the role.

This has drawn unfavourable comparisons with New Zealand's foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta who has spent less time in the Pacific recently, despite the region finding itself in the spotlight following Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's tour.

National's foreign affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee criticised Mahuta for taking only one Pacific trip in the last 18 months, while Act's Brooke van Velden asked in the chamber, "why is she still here and not visiting the Pacific?"

Ardern defended Mahuta during her morning media round, telling The AM show that she was unhappy with some of the "commentary" around Mahuta's travel.

"I have been frustrated by some of the commentary. I feel like some of the commentary we have seen does a disservice to the Pacific. These are sovereign nations who have had relationships with China that span many years, as New Zealand does," Ardern said.

"The idea that they are somehow unable to determine their own relationships with China and that somehow [they'd] be dictated or persuaded by visits from New Zealand or Australia sits totally against our view that it is about partnership."

Ardern defended Mahuta's itinerary, noting that in some cases, Australia and China needed to be exempted from Covid-related entry requirements for their foreign ministers to visit.

New Zealand tended to want to respect those rules.

Ardern said that Mahuta is "currently in the process of organising her first visits into countries who have only recently opened their borders".