It’s Thursday June 16, welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund. Reach me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta has met with her Australian counterpart Penny Wong at parliament today.
Wong is in the country for the biannual meeting between the Australian and New Zealand foreign ministers. It’s her first trip to New Zealand since taking on the role, and follows a series of engagements around the Pacific over the past month.
According to a statement, the pair discussed the trans-Tasman relationship as well as a wide range of global issues. “The ministers discussed their concerns at the growing strategic competition in the Pacific region,” said the statement. “They noted the long traditions within the region of working collectively to meet security needs.”
Other issues on the agenda included the post-Covid economic recovery of the Pacific, the shared value of equality, and the role of First Nations peoples in foreign policy.
At a press conference, Wong said the Pacific was a “priority” for the new Anthony Albanese-led government. “We share a view about the importance of the Pacific family and a region that is respectful of sovereignty, where the Pacific family provides its own security, where peace and prosperity and predictability of rules can be observed,” she said.
“You have a unique and powerful voice, your country in the Pacific. And it’s a very important one.”
Climate change was also discussed by the two ministers, with Mahuta acknowledging Australia’s commitment to tackling it.
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern is due to travel to Australia next month for her second meeting with Albanese.