Welcome home, Nanaia – and it’s good to hear defence, security and trade stuff were discussed with big-wigs in North America

Our Beehive update

Matters in the foreign affairs domain have preoccupied ministers over the past two days.

Ambassadors to Russia and the United Nations have been appointed, $100 million has been given to the Cook Islands and Fiji for COVID-19 economic support and recovery, nine southern African countries have been added to New Zealand’s list of very high risk countries after discovery of the COVID-19 variant Omicron, and Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has provided a rundown on the North American leg of her 17-day overseas travels.

Mahuta has been busy.  Regardless of jet  lag, she has announced the new ambassadorial appointments and the economic package of $100 million, bringing COVID-19  support to the Cook Islands and Fiji to a combined total of $215 million. New Zealand this time is providing $60 million to the Cook Islands and $40 million to Fiji.

We suppose the press statements were prepared while the Minister was in managed isolation and quarantine, no doubt itching to get back to the Three Waters reforms.

A weekend statement told us the final leg of Mahuta’s travels involved “a number of high-level discussions” in the United States and Canada.

The issues discussed extended beyond the interests of indigenous peoples, the subject of her previous travel report after she meet Canadian ministers.

She mentioned these interests again in her latest statement as a measure of the importance she obviously attaches to them.  But she also brought stuff such as defence, security and trade into her discussions.  While in Washington DC, Mahuta says she met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, USAID Administrator Samantha Power and National Security Council officials.

“Our two countries enjoy a deep, long-lasting friendship that is based on shared values and a commitment to the importance of human rights, democracy and maintaining the system of international rules and norms,” said Nanaia Mahuta.

New Zealand and the US share a strategic partnership with a strong security and defence relationship, economic links and close connections between our people, she said.

She and Secretary Blinken had

“… a warm and productive discussion on a number of significant challenges, including Pacific resilience, the Indo-Pacific regional agenda and our shared security concerns.”

Administrator Power and Mahuta spoke about work on human rights and strengthening democracy and multilateral organisations.

In Ottawa, Minister Mahuta met with newly appointed Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly, Development Minister Harjit Sajjan, and International Trade Minister Mary Ng.

“Canada and Aotearoa New Zealand have a close relationship built on a wide range of shared values, multilateral partnerships, and trade ties including common membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP),” said Nanaia Mahuta.

“This was a good opportunity to not only meet my counterparts face-to-face, but to discuss some of those issues important to our nations at this time, like climate change, COVID19 and indigenous relations. We discussed a range of international and regional issues, including Pacific resilience and developments in the Indo-Pacific as well as the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and the need to support Pacific resilience in the face of the dual challenges of COVID-19 and climate change.

“I also had the opportunity to meet with Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu and Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller and outline our commitment to deepening links between Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand and First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples in Canada.”

These meetings reinforced the importance of the countries’ strong friendship, commitment to address indigenous issues, work constructively on our common values and shared objectives both regionally and globally, Mahuta said.

The minister and delegation of two have entered an MIQ facility to complete the required managed isolation period.

There was an international flavour to another announcement posted on the Beehive website since we last reported.  This involved the official launch of the Pacific Languages Unit.

The unit brings together a new set of language supports within the Ministry for Pacific Peoples to provide advice, commission research, maintain standards, promote language use and fund community initiatives.

This unit is the result of the Government delivering on its commitment from Budget 2019 Vote Pacific of more than $20 million over a four-year period.

Latest from the Beehive

New Ambassador to Russia announced

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Sarah Walsh as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Russia.

New Permanent Representative to the UN announced

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Carolyn Schwalger as Permanent Representative to the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.

Further COVID-19 economic support for Cook Islands and Fiji announced

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced a further package of support for the Cook Islands and Fiji for COVID-19 economic support and recovery.

New law will clear the air for tamariki in vehicles

From today, it’s illegal to smoke or vape in most vehicles carrying children aged under 18 years old – whether the vehicle is moving or not.

Nine countries designated very high risk

Nine southern African countries are being added to the very high risk countries list following public health advice around the newly discovered COVID-19 variant Omicron, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said.

Foreign Affairs Minister concludes final stage of world trip

Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today departed North America to return home to Aotearoa, concluding the last stage of her 17-day world trip.

Milestone launch of Pacific Languages Unit

Today’s official launch of the Pacific Languages Unit is a milestone for our Pacific communities, the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio said.

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