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New Zealand prime minister Chris Hipkins and Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese get shirts (Image: supplied)
New Zealand prime minister Chris Hipkins and Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese get shirts (Image: supplied)

The BulletinJuly 27, 2023

Cobbers and co-hosts catch up

New Zealand prime minister Chris Hipkins and Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese get shirts (Image: supplied)
New Zealand prime minister Chris Hipkins and Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese get shirts (Image: supplied)

Providing a reprieve from domestic affairs for both prime ministers, Chris Hipkins and Anthony Albanese hung out and talked seamless trans-Tasman travel, writes Anna Rawhiti-Connell in this excerpt from The Bulletin, The Spinoff’s morning news round-up. To receive The Bulletin in full each weekday, sign up here.

Trans-Tasman relationship in fine fettle 

They talked trans-Tasman travel, defence, climate change and “a bilateral roadmap setting out our shared ambition for cooperation over the next decade”. They also covered off mateship, league, the Bledisloe, the Fifa World Cup and had a beer. It’s safe to say that boxes were ticked by New Zealand prime minister Chris Hipkins and Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese yesterday, demonstrating that trans-Tasman relations are healthy and markedly improved since the days of Jacinda Arden and Scott Morrison. AAP’s Ben McKay recently interviewed Annette King, New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Australia, who revealed Ardern “berated” Scott Morrison in heated disagreements between the pair on migration issues.

‘Seamless travel’ across the Tasman

The prime ministers announced a working group “to scope initiatives to move closer towards seamless travel across the Tasman”. In the press conference at the Beehive yesterday Hipkins and Albanese spoke of a “seamless experience.” That sounds like we’ll be transported via tube or portal in a matter of seconds but is more likely to involve making the smart gates work… smarter. The seamless experience is unlikely to involve a shared passport. The expert group will return its findings within a year.

World Cup co-hosts get a short-lived reprieve from domestic matters

The prime ministers headed off to the Fifa World Cup fan zone in Wellington, where they had a beer and got given shirts. They then went to dinner at Government House celebrating 40 years of Closer Economic Relations. The numbers on the shirts are significant. Hipkins is the 41st prime minister of New Zealand and Albanese is the 31st back in his home territory. Chippy looked chipper for the first time in a while after one of the worst weeks of his tenure. News of leaks from his caucus broken by The Post yesterday (paywalled) and this morning’s story about the use of police dogs to track Kiri Allan’s movements after she was found about 500 metres from her crashed car on Sunday evening, make any reprieve from domestic matters short-lived. In Australia, Albanese is facing opposition and declining support for his government’s bid to enshrine an indigenous voice in Australia’s constitution via a referendum.

Consultant crack-down in Auckland and Australia

Auckland mayor Wayne Brown might be looking across the ditch for inspiration following a report from the Herald’s Bernard Orsman (paywalled) that Auckland Council spent $190m on global accountants and law firms in five years. The Herald investigation found $100k per day was being spent on consultant fees. Brown is “horrified” and has promised to ‘clamp down on spending by consultants from “the big end of town”’. The Albanese government pledged to cut its contractors and consultants bill by $3b (AUD) over four years. This week a plan has been rolled out which breaks down how that will be achieved.

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