Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, and Aotearoa New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs, Local Government and Associate Minister for Māori Development, Hon Nanaia Mahuta, have today held the biannual Australia-New Zealand Foreign Minister Consultations.
Minister Payne welcomed Minister Mahuta to Australia on Minister Mahuta’s first overseas visit as Foreign Minister. Ministers welcomed the opportunity to meet again in person to strengthen the special trans-Tasman relationship, which is one of whānau, and to acknowledge the unique role of the indigenous peoples of Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand in the identity of both countries. The Ministers expressed their support for the ongoing trans-Tasman engagement under the Australia Aotearoa New Zealand Indigenous Collaboration Arrangement.
At the meeting held in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, the Ministers discussed ways to continue to deepen and strengthen cooperation between Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand as we stand together in facing strategic challenges in the Indo-Pacific and on global issues.
The Ministers emphasised the importance of an open and inclusive Indo Pacific region of sovereign, resilient and prosperous states, who can pursue their interests free from coercion, supported by robust regional institutions and our shared support to the Pacific through Australia’s Step-up and New Zealand’s Partnering for Resilience approach. They reaffirmed their intent to work together to preserve the liberal international order that has underpinned stability and prosperity in the region, and to foster a sustainable regional balance where all countries – large and small – can freely pursue their legitimate interests. They affirmed their strong support for open, rules-based trade based on market principles.
They acknowledged the unique role of the Pacific Islands Forum in projecting a strong and unified Pacific voice on the global stage. The Ministers recognised the Pacific as an integral part of the wider region and that our collective work with Pacific partners makes a key contribution to wider regional stability and long-term resilience.
The Ministers highlighted their support for Southeast Asia’s contribution to regional prosperity and security and reiterated their commitment to ASEAN centrality and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. They discussed the importance of regional partnerships to stability, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific, and the role of AUKUS in this network. The Ministers reaffirmed their longstanding, steadfast commitment to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and to their international and regional obligations in this regard.
Minister Payne and Minister Mahuta agreed on the importance of continuing to coordinate with other likeminded countries and building broad coalitions on issues reflecting common interests and shared values. The Ministers agreed the advancement of human rights was a priority.
The Ministers emphasised the need to strengthen gender equality and promote women’s leadership. They agreed that progressing the Pacific Leaders’ Gender Equality Declaration remains at the forefront of our co-operation in the region.
The Ministers agreed on the need for coordinated regional and global action on climate change, including working with Pacific partners to strengthen climate resilience. The Ministers also agreed the importance of coordinated action on future pandemic preparedness and strengthened regional health systems.
The Ministers discussed the continuing impact of the COVID pandemic among many Pacific island countries, emphasising the special role that Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand played in collaborating with Pacific partners in the face of economic and social impacts brought about by the pandemic, including working with Pacific partners to provide access to high quality and critical infrastructure.
The Ministers agreed on the need to maintain efforts on COVID-19 vaccination in the region and to work on means to maximise economic opportunities for our Pacific partners as we emerge from the pandemic.