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Winston Peters and Judith Collins land in Melbourne

Author
Thomas Coughlan,
Publish Date
Wed, 31 Jan 2024, 9:25PM
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Judith Collins arrived in Melbourne. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Judith Collins arrived in Melbourne. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Winston Peters and Judith Collins land in Melbourne

Author
Thomas Coughlan,
Publish Date
Wed, 31 Jan 2024, 9:25PM

Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Winston Peters have touched down in Melbourne on their whistle stop tour of Australia.

They disembarked at Melbourne at about 7pm on Wednesday, NZ time.

Tomorrow they will meet their Australian counterparts, Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Defence Minister Richard Marles.

The meeting is in what as known as a 2+2 format. It is the first time that New Zealand has participated in a Foreign Affairs and Defence 2+2. Australia regularly hosts them with the United States in what is called the AUSMIN format - this trip is being touted as ANZMIN.

Peters and Collins are keen to stress the symbolic importance of how quickly they have teed up the meeting.

“This is the first time that New Zealand has done this with Australia, so it is a very significant step and it is very important for us to work with our only ally and very good friend Australia, wherever possible,” Collins said.

Highlights of the trip include a demonstration of next generation Mars rover at Monash University.

Peters and Collins both said the visit could be something of a fact-finding mission for New Zealand’s potential participation in the Aukus submarine deal.

“The first thing we need to find out is what could it be about in our national interest,” Peters said.

Collins said the agreement might offer “better interoperability in a technological way.

“The other thing is the Aukus partners are working through now what pillar II might mean for them as well. That’s why it is very important that we’re at least open to what they have to say and whether or not we want to be a part of that,” Collins said.

The visit comes as both countries have decided to back US-led airstrikes against Houthis to protect shipping in the Red Sea. Labour and the Greens have decided not to back the strikes and warned of the risk of entangling New Zealand in another American Middle East intervention.

Thomas Coughlan is Deputy Political Editor and covers politics from Parliament. He has worked for the Herald since 2021 and has worked in the press gallery since 2018.

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