Jacinda Ardern is set to visit Australia on Thursday, meeting with Anthony Albanese for the first time since he was elected as Prime Minister.
The New Zealand Prime Minister will be the first foreign leader hosted by the new federal government, with Ardern saying the trip will be an opportunity to discuss continued cooperation between the two countries.
“The relationship between New Zealand and Australia is like family,” Jacinda Ardern said in a statement ahead of her trip across the ditch.
“It’s fitting that as New Zealand’s Prime Minister I will be the first foreign head of government to meet with Prime Minister Albanese in Australia since he took office a couple of weeks ago.”
Ardern said Australia and New Zealand are close neighbours, who share common values, history, personal connections and business relationships.
“This meeting also comes at an important moment in our reconnecting programme, as for New Zealanders and New Zealand businesses alike, Australia is a source of prosperity, labour, tourism, innovation, science and knowledge,” she said.
“I am very much looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Albanese in person following our recent phone conversations, and I know it will be the first of many as New Zealand and Australia continue to cooperate closely in a world of increasing challenges.”
Ardern said issues on the agenda will include developments in the region, like climate change, the Indo Pacific Economic Framework, AUKUS, and the upcoming Pacific Island Forum.
“New Zealand and Australia work exceptionally well together on the international stage to achieve our common goals and I know we will continue to advocate for a more stable and resilient region, defend and advance the multilateral rules based system, and maintain momentum on our world-leading economic integration,” she said.
Albanese said he was looking forward to welcoming Ardern to Australia. The pair are due to meet informally on Thursday night, and hold formal bilateral talks on Friday.
“Prime Minister Ardern will be the first foreign leader I will meet in Australia since the election,” Albanese said.
“The Australia–New Zealand relationship is unique in its closeness. We are partners and allies, and we share a relationship of family. Through our single economic market, our people-to-people ties and our shared interests in the region and around the world, Australia and New Zealand stand together.”
Albanese said the visit will be an opportunity to build further cooperation between the nations, and focus on the economic recovery from COVID-19, the role of Indigenous peoples in the identity of both countries, climate change, support for the Pacific, and global trade and security.