New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, met in Wellington today for biannual Australia-New Zealand Foreign Minister Consultations.
Marise Payne’s visit is the first official visit to New Zealand by Australia since both countries imposed border restrictions in response to COVID-19 in March 2020.
The Ministers welcomed the chance to meet in person for the first time, following the commencement of two-way quarantine-free travel on 19 April.
The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss ways to continue and deepen cooperation between Australia and New Zealand to meet the shared challenges facing our region.
New Zealand and Australia stand together in facing a challenging global environment. Ministers discussed the importance of promoting our shared interests in an open, resilient and prosperous Indo-Pacific. 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.
The Ministers discussed responses to increasing pressure on the international rules-based system and rising protectionism, and agreed on the need for coordinated regional and global action on issues such as human rights and climate change, including work Australia and New Zealand are doing together to strengthen the climate resilience of our Pacific island partners.
The Ministers also highlighted the importance of strengthening gender equality, including promoting women in leadership in the Pacific and initiatives on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Minister Payne and Minister Mahuta agreed on the value of coordinating with other likeminded countries and building broad coalitions on issues of common interest.
Ministers also reiterated both governments’ commitment to a resilient and united Pacific region underpinned by robust regional architecture, and to continuing to help Pacific island countries manage the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, including support for the rollout of vaccines.
The two Ministers welcomed progress on the Australia-New Zealand Single Economic Market agenda. They acknowledged the contribution quarantine-free travel would make to the economic recovery in both countries, especially in the travel and tourism sectors. The Ministers also discussed the situation of New Zealanders living and working in Australia.
The Ministers reaffirmed the closeness and importance of the Australia-New Zealand relationship.
“Australia is New Zealand’s closest and most important international partner. It’s appropriate that Minister Payne was the first counterpart I have welcomed from overseas since becoming Foreign Minister” said Nanaia Mahuta.
“New Zealand also looks forward to welcoming Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for our annual leaders’ talks.”
Marise Payne expressed appreciation for New Zealand’s warmth and hospitality. “I look forward to continuing our strong tradition of trans-Tasman partnership, working closely with Minister Mahuta to promote even closer economic ties and personal connections between Australia and New Zealand.”