Thursday, April 25, 2024

PMs shake on closer ties

Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern and UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson say they have taken a number of steps to strengthen ties between New Zealand and the UK, and promote common interests in the Indo-Pacific following a meeting in London.

“The UK is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s oldest and closest friends and partners. To meet so quickly after New Zealand has reopened its borders reflects the importance we place on our relationship with the UK as we reconnect with the world,” Prime Minister Ardern said.

During their meeting at Downing St, the Prime Ministers agreed to enhance the bilateral Working Holiday/Youth Mobility Scheme. Once in force, the age limit will be raised from 30 years to 35 years, and the length of stay extended to three years.

“I am delighted we have concluded the upgrade to our Working Holiday/Youth Mobility Scheme which will allow more UK and New Zealand citizens to travel and work in each others’ countries for longer. These changes reflect the depth of the NZ-UK relationship,” said Ms Ardern.

The Prime Ministers also signed a new arrangement that sets a framework for further co-operation on research, science, and innovation activities.

”New Zealand and the UK have a celebrated history of Scientific collaboration, from Sir Ernest Rutherford travelling from Nelson to Cambridge to usher in a new era of physics, to New Zealand company Rocket Lab launching microsatellites made by Scottish manufacturer Alba Orbital into space,” PM Ardern said.

“Our new research, science, and innovation arrangement will enable us to explore further opportunities to work together on some of the biggest science and innovation challenges facing the world today.”

The leaders also agreed to a new fast-tracked customs process which they say will benefit exporters accessing both markets.

“This new customs arrangement builds on our gold-standard Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and will make trade between us even easier,” Ms Ardern said.

“The signing earlier this year of an FTA with the UK – one of our largest trading partners – provides a platform for our business and economic ties to further grow. Our FTA will support New Zealand’s efforts to diversify our trade by opening up access to the UK’s NZ$3 trillion consumer market.”

The Prime Ministers also discussed the significant challenges and opportunities facing the world today, and how the UK and New Zealand can jointly respond. To give leadership to these efforts, they agreed to establish an annual Foreign Ministers Dialogue.

The Prime Ministers released a joint statement that can be found here.

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