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.