Saturday, May 25, 2024

International engagements confirmed for PM

Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins, has announced he will undertake a small number of international engagements this year, focused on advancing New Zealand’s trade and economic interests.

The PM will travel with a trade delegation to Australia this weekend to mark 40 years of Closer Economic Relations (CER), before travelling to the United Kingdom to attend the Coronation of King Charles III in May.

He has also accepted an invitation to attend the NATO leaders’ summit in Vilnius Lithuania in July.

“My focus is on the cost of living and cyclone recovery challenges New Zealand is facing. As such I will only undertake a small number of international engagements this year,” Mr Hipkins said.

“When overseas I will look to put trade front and centre in order to support our economic recovery.

“I will be taking a business delegation with me to Australia and will be seeking to advance our trade deal with the UK when in London for the King’s Coronation and with the EU when I attend NATO.”

In Australia this week, Mr Hipkins will meet Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese and advance people and business ties between the two countries over the course of two days (22-23 April).

“During our last meeting in February, Prime Minister Albanese and I discussed the situation of New Zealand citizens living in Australia. This visit will follow up on those discussions,” he said.

“My visit will also reinforce the trade and economic benefits and resilience which New Zealand gains from the trans-Tasman relationship, as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Closer Economic Relations. 

“New Zealand and Australia’s economic success is inextricably linked. The Single Economic Market is a powerful engine for growth on both sides of the Tasman.”

Prime Minister Hipkins will be joined by the Minister for Trade and Export Growth, Damien O’Connor, and will travel with a business delegation and senior Māori representatives. They will attend a business networking dinner with key Australian and New Zealand contacts.

“I look forward to supporting New Zealand businesses with growth ambitions in Australia, including several Māori businesses and firms from cyclone-affected areas,” Mr Hipkins said.

King Charles III Coronation

The Prime Minister will attend the Coronation service of King Charles III in London on May 6 along with the Governor-General, the High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, senior Royal Honours holders, iwi leaders, and community representatives. In recognition that it is an election year, the Prime Minister has also invited the Leader of the Opposition to attend.

The members of the New Zealand delegation are:

  • Governor-General of New Zealand Dame Cindy Kiro and Dr Richard Davies
  • Prime Minister Chris Hipkins
  • New Zealand High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Phil Goff
  • Leader of the Opposition Christopher Luxon
  • Richie McCaw – Order of New Zealand representative
  • Willie Apiata – Victoria Cross for New Zealand representative
  • Abdul Aziz – New Zealand Cross representative
  • Kiingi Tuheitia and Makau Ariki Atawhai
  • Dame Naida Glavish and Lorraine Toki
  • Ben Appleton – Kaiāwhina and Director of Ngāti Rānana London Māori Club (UK based)
  • Sarah Smart – UK General Manager The Dairy Collective (UK based)
  • Craig Fenton – 2023 UK New Zealander of the Year (UK based)
  • Rebecca Scown – Former Olympic Rower and CEO of Youth Experience in Sport (UK based)
  • Rhieve Grey – Graduate student and 2021 Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University (UK based)
  • Sergeant Hayden Smith – Flag bearer selected by the New Zealand Defence Force

The Prime Minister will depart for the United Kingdom on 1 May and undertake trade focused activities in the UK prior to the Coronation to promote the NZ/UK FTA.

“It’s important for the Government and the country to be represented at our Head of State’s Coronation,” Mr Hipkins said.

Tree planting to mark Coronation

The Prime Minister has also announced a range of events and activities in New Zealand to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles III and the Queen Consort.

“I am pleased to announce a donation of $1 million to Trees That Count as New Zealand’s gift to mark the Coronation,” he said.

“Trees That Count, in partnership with the Department of Conservation, will work with community groups to plant more than 100,000 native trees. The donation will create a living legacy to benefit all New Zealanders, provide more resilience against climate change, and aligns with King Charles’s lifelong interest in environmental conservation.”

On the weekend of 6 and 7 May, local councils across New Zealand will plant native trees as part of He Rā Rākau Tītapu – King Charles III Coronation Plantings. The public are encouraged to attend events in their communities, including a family friendly celebration at the Auckland Domain on Sunday 7 May.

“Environmental restoration projects would not be possible without the generous contribution made by volunteers around the country. The Coronation will be a time to acknowledge the immense efforts made by volunteers to improve social cohesion and build stronger, more resilient communities,” the PM said.

Other ways to mark the Coronation will include:

  • The illumination of a number of buildings across New Zealand with purple lights overnight on 6 May
  • A gun salute by the New Zealand Defence Force in Wellington on 7 May
  • The renaming of the next New Zealand Royal Honours List to The King’s Birthday and Coronation Honours List 2023
  • NZ Post’s issue of commemorative stamps and coins (from 3 May).

Further information about the Coronation is available on the Governor-General’s website at gg.govt.nz.

The Government is continuing to pursue a trade focused trip to China later in the year, the Prime Minister confirmed.

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