Reconnecting across the Tasman: Australia - Aotearoa New Zealand Foreign Minister Consultations
- The Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Local Government, Associate Minister of Māori Development
Aotearoa New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Penny Wong, met in Wellington today for the biannual Australia - Aotearoa New Zealand Foreign Minister Consultations.
Minister Mahuta welcomed Minister Wong for her first official visit to Aotearoa New Zealand as Australian Foreign Minister, following the federal election last month. Minister Wong's visit follows Prime Minister Ardern's visit to Australia on 9 – 10 June and her warm and positive discussions with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
The Ministers welcomed the opportunity to meet in person for the first time to discuss the trans-Tasman relationship as well as a wide range of global issues.
The Ministers noted that the close friendship between the two nations is more essential than ever for the security and well-being of our citizens. Ministers recognised that Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia are at their best when they stand united as allies, cooperating closely while embracing the strength their diversity brings.
The Ministers acknowledged the close cooperation between Australia and New Zealand to support a stable, prosperous and resilient Indo-Pacific region amid sharper global challenges. The Ministers discussed their concerns at the growing strategic competition in the Pacific region. They noted the long traditions within the region of working collectively to meet security needs, including under the Biketawa Declaration and the Boe Declaration. They underlined the importance of consultation on security measures within the region, and looked ahead to discussions on regional security among Pacific Islands Forum members.
The Ministers reiterated the unique role of the Pacific Islands Forum and its architecture, and were optimistic that a pathway to maintain the unity of the Forum is in sight. They warmly welcomed the sustained efforts of Pacific leaders in support of the Forum, and recognised recent progress as a demonstration of the 'Pacific Way' of respectful dialogue and consensus.
Ministers agreed on the need to place the perspectives and priorities of Pacific island nations at the forefront of both countries' engagement in the Pacific, and called on other development partners to adopt the same approach.
The Ministers noted the clear and consistent message from Pacific Island nations that climate change is the most critical challenge they face. They noted the responsibility on governments to act with ambition and urgency for the benefit of people in the Pacific and around the world. Ministers recognised the transition that Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia needed to undertake in their economies. They also recognised the need to work together to accelerate climate action and support the ambitions of Pacific island countries to lower greenhouse gas emissions and increase climate resilience.
The Ministers also discussed their shared commitment to working with Pacific Island nations to address the complex issues facing the region. Ministers agreed on the need for increased cooperation to support the Pacific's economic recovery from COVID-19 as borders reopen, strengthen gender equality and women's empowerment in the region and deliver effective climate finance.
The Ministers noted current threats to the rules-based order, and the risks to stability and prosperity for our Pacific family and globally. Ministers acknowledged the importance of working together against these risks, and reiterated their shared commitment to international cooperation, including through effective, transparent and balanced multilateral institutions.
The Ministers redoubled their commitment to ensuring that human rights are protected, respected and promoted globally. They stressed the importance of working together on issues reflecting shared values, such as gender equality and promoting and protecting the rights of First Nations peoples, persons with disabilities, and LGBTIQA+ persons, including in multilateral fora.
The Ministers discussed the importance of incorporating indigenous perspectives and celebrating the unique role of First Nations peoples in foreign policy. They agreed to work together as Australia develops a First Nations foreign policy.
The Ministers agreed on the need to work with other partners to build broad coalitions on issues of common interest. They welcomed the recent launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity in Tokyo. They reflected on the strength of the multilateral system and the international community in holding Russia to account for its illegal invasion of Ukraine, including its suspension from the Human Rights Council due to gross and egregious human rights violations.
Ministers agreed to maintain momentum and focus on our world-leading economic integration as Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand look ahead to the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Closer Economic Relations (CER) trade agreement in 2023.
The Ministers also discussed the situation of New Zealanders living and working in Australia. They noted the positive discussions between Prime Minister Ardern and Prime Minister Albanese on these matters.
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