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HomeNew ZealandWatch: Chris Hipkins and Anthony Albanese hold joint media conference

Watch: Chris Hipkins and Anthony Albanese hold joint media conference

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NZ Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese are holding a joint media conference outside Parliament House in Canberra.

The two leaders met for an informal catch-up this afternoon and have spoken to media from both countries.

Albanese said it was fantastic to welcome Hipkins to Parliament House in Canberra.

“New Zealand and Australia are family. We had a very warm lunch today renewing our aquaintance. I had first met Chris – Prime Minister Hipkins in the Parliament in Wellington some years ago and it means a lot to us as Australians that your first destination is prime minister is here.”

He said their discussion was wide-ranging, and covered economy, climate, security issues and “how we’ll work together to continue the plan that was established at last year’s leaders’ meeting with former prime minister Jacinda Ardern including working through a range of issues relating to citizenship for Australians and New Zealanders which we intend to conclude before Anzac Day of this year”.

They also discussed the value both countries placed on their role as members of the Pacific region, Albanese said, and noted that the Pacific Island Forum in Suva last year had led to positive developments.

This year marked 40 years of the Closer Economic Relations trade agreement, which Albanese said was a “gold standard” agreement, and one of the most comprehensive in the world.

It also marked 80 years of diplomatic relations, and the co-hosting of the women’s World Cup this year, starting in July.

“I look forward to further developing our relationship with our friends in New Zealand … I thank the prime minister very much for his visit today.”

Hipkins said New Zealand had “no closer friend or partner” than Australia, and agreed the two countries are more than friends, “we are family”.

“In the great trans-Tasman tradition I’m looking forward to working with you across a broad spectrum of issues that are important to both of our countries.”

He said they also discussed how global economic conditions after Covid-19 were affecting New Zealanders and Australians alike.

“High interest rates, cost of living pressures affect families here and in New Zealand and we share a lot of issues in common in that regard, but many other countries don’t have the same closeness as New Zealand and Australia and that’s something we will never take for granted in New Zealand.

“I echoed the words of my predecessor in matters around deportations and we discussed the ongoing work that we have around addressuing some of the issues regarding New Zealanders who live and work permanently here in Australia. They’re complex issues but I do want to acknowledge and applaud the progress that’s been made over the last year and we’ll look forward to continuing to work on those.”

Hipkins said he looked forward to hosting Albanese around the middle of this year.

Asked about joining AUKUS, Hipkins said New Zealand’s foreign policy position had not changed just because of a change in leadership and it remained the same as it was under Ardern.

“Australia, the US, the UK are incredibly important security partners for New Zealand but our nuclear-free policy hasn’t changed either.”

Albanese said AUKUS was a part of the defence relationships but “that’s not all it is, and our relationship with New Zealand including defence cooperation is strong and will continue to be strong”.

“I’m very confident with how Aukus is proceeding, it’s a positive move, and the discussions are reaching the point whereby announcements as the defence minister has said, announcements will be made soon. It’s not just about nuclear submarines it’s about a whole range of issues.”

Today’s flying visit to the Australian capital is Hipkins’ first international trip since becoming prime minister last month, following Jacinda Ardern’s shock resignation.

He is due to return to New Zealand this evening.

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins shakes hands with his Australian counterpart Australian Anthony Albanese.

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins shakes hands with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese.
Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

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