Jacinda in the Land of Oz should have plenty to talk about (but chatting about her govt’s achievements mightn’t take long)

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, on her visit to Melbourne this  week, has a  scheduled  meeting with  Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

She says NZ’s relationship with Australia is its closest and most important.

I am always keen to make the most of visits to enhance our relationship, including on behalf of business.”

So it might be expected Australia-NZ relations with  China would be high on the agenda, particularly in the light of  recent events in  Hong  Kong  and   the Chinese  government’s  actions of  placing  millions of  Uighurs  in   virtual concentration camps.  Australia   has said it is raising the  Uighurs’  fate  with the  Chinese  government,  but  NZ has been silent.

Another  pressing  issue  is (or should be) the tension in the  Straits of  Hormuz, which could  threaten  NZ and Australia’s vital  oil  supplies.

But, no,  Ardern  says  she  will  be taking the opportunity to talk about the progress her Coalition Government is making

“ … on the plan for a modern NZ we can all be proud of – with an economy that is growing and working for everyone while giving us the ability to improve the wellbeing of all New Zealanders and their families”.

We would love to sit in on the conversation, to get a measure of the achievements she believes her government has recorded in this year of transformative delivery.

We  know  KiwiBuild has been  such  a  triumph that Ardern has sidelined  its  curator,  Phil Twyford.

And  then  there is  the battle  against   child poverty.  Nothing  much to  report there.   Except  all  doesn’t  appear to  be  going swimmingly  with  Oranga  Tamariki.

And is the economy growing at a pace which will  impress  our  neighbours?

But if   Ardern   gets  some   time,   after  the  cameras  leave   having recorded   the  jolly  exchanges  about   Morrison’s  unexpected  despatch of Labor leader Bill Shortern  in the Federal election, her holiday on Rarotonga and the Black Caps’ oh-so-close-to-victory  performance in  the  Cricket World Cup …

Well, she  could   raise  the  difficulties the NZ  government  has  with  receiving      one-time  New Zealanders deported from Australia by Morrison’s  hardliner Peter  Dutton.

After all, when good mates get together, there shouldn’t be any  holding back  on the  tough issues – should there?

Other events for Ardern in Melbourne include:

  • Meet with Victoria Governor Linda Dessau and Premier Daniel Andrews
  • Attend an NZTE investor lunch and business breakfast
  • Deliver the keynote speech ‘Why Good Government Matters’ at an Australia New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) event hosted by Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp.

China will be on the agenda in talks between Winston Peters and Julie Bishop

Foreign Minister Winston Peters is in Australia  for  the regular six-monthly consultations with his Australian counterpart, Julie Bishop – and to deliver a speech to the National Press Club.

Some  see  this as  a  critical  moment   in the  Trans-Tasman  relationship  in the light of the recent spat  over  Australia’s  action in  deporting  increasing  numbers  of  Kiwis. More important, there is growing concern in  both  Canberra  and  Wellington   about the  role  China is  playing in the Pacific.

If anyone   from  the  NZ coalition  government  can get some  traction in  Canberra,  it is  probably  Winston Peters.  He  may, however,  find the current climate there  very edgy after PM Malcolm Turnbull survived a leadership ballot by a close 48 votes to 35.   Continue reading “China will be on the agenda in talks between Winston Peters and Julie Bishop”