INDEPENDENT NEWS

Prime Minister To Visit Fiji And Australia

Published: Sat 22 Feb 2020 05:51 PM
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will visit two of New Zealand’s most important Pacific partners, Fiji and Australia, next week.
The visit to Fiji will be the first by a New Zealand Prime Minister in four years and comes during the 50th anniversary of Fijian independence and diplomatic relations between our countries.
The visit to Sydney is for the annual Trans-Tasman Prime Minister’s meeting which alternates venue each year and was held in Auckland in 2019.
“Fiji and Australia are two of New Zealand’s most important Pacific partners. Both relationships are underscored by a shared Pacific history, a commitment to a robust and thriving region and a strong leader to leader ties,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“New Zealand and Fiji have enjoyed diplomatic relations since Fiji declared independence, half a century ago this year. Fiji is our biggest trading partner in the Pacific, over 200,000 New Zealanders visit every year, and it has a powerful voice on climate issues internationally.
“My trip is focused on further strengthening the relationship and has a particular focus on climate change, supporting women and strengthening democracy.”
Prime Minister Ardern will travel to Fiji on 24 February, visiting Suva, Nadi and Lautoka. Her visit will include meetings with Fijian Prime Minister Bainimarama, an address to students and staff at the University of the South Pacific, and engagements with Fijian women leaders in government, business and civil society. She will also pay respects at the Lautoka Jame Masjid to the three Fijian nationals killed in the terror attacks of March 15.
The Prime Minister will travel on to Australia on 27 February, where the annual Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting (ANZLM) will take place in Sydney the following day.
“Prime Minister Morrison and I are in regular contact, but it’s always valuable to sit down in person to discuss the broad range of issues on which our countries work so closely,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“This year’s meeting will be an opportunity for us to acknowledge the strong spirit of Trans-Tasman cooperation that has helped bring us through some very difficult times over the past twelve months, including as we responded to devastating events in Christchurch and on Whakaari/White Island as well the terrible bushfires in Australia. And of course we are now currently working closely together in our response to Covid-19.”
While in Australia, Prime Minister Ardern will also meet with the Australian Governor-General His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) and the New South Wales Premier, the Honourable Gladys Berejiklian.

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