Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrives in Australia for a five-day visit


Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in June. Photo/Getty Images

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has arrived in Melbourne for a busy five-day schedule following her trip to Europe.

Speaking to the media this afternoon at the MCG, Ardern said while New Zealand’s foreign policy had been “very cohesive”, the environment was dynamic and contested ahead of talks with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese more late this week.

Ardern said she expected to discuss the topic of inflation while in Australia. There was a common experience and a common approach to dealing with it, she said.

Regarding the 501 issue, Ardern said she didn’t expect to resolve the issue immediately during the trip. The underlying issue was the right to citizenship, she said.

None of the issues could be resolved within weeks, she said.

The changes sought by the government would take some time, Ardern said.

The Prime Minister’s visit to Melbourne and Sydney with several ministers and a trade delegation will be a mix of business and tourism events and political meetings.

It will end on Friday with the Australia-New Zealand Leadership Forum in Sydney – the first time the Forum has taken place in person since the Covid-19 border closure.

Both Ardern and Albanese will speak on this. Also in attendance will be Ministers Damien O’Connor (Trade and Export Growth), Stuart Nash (Tourism and Small Business), Willie Jackson (Maori Development), Michael Wood (Immigration), Ayesha Verrall (Covid-19 Response), James Shaw (climate change) and Grant Robertson (finance) – provided he has recovered from Covid-19.

The meeting will be a formal catch-up between Ardern and Albanese after the two leaders held preliminary talks about a month ago, shortly after Albanese won the Australian election.

Ardern is expected to ask for any further thoughts from Albanese on policies such as Australia’s deportation program and the pathway to citizenship for New Zealanders living in Australia. They are also likely to discuss the topics that will dominate at next week’s Pacific Islands Forum, where Pacific leaders are expected to discuss issues such as Solomon Islands’ recent deal with China.

Ardern arrived in Australia earlier today with a bag full of earnings from her week in Europe. Those gains included the long-negotiated New Zealand-European Union free trade agreement after a last-minute push by Ardern and negotiators.

She ended that trip to London and a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson – and more generous terms for a visa allowing young New Zealanders to live and work in the UK. She also had a private meeting with Prince William.

While in Australia, Ardern is also due to meet Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and NSW Premier Dominic Perrotet and deliver a foreign policy speech at the Lowy Institute.

A major tourism summit, featuring ministers from New Zealand and Australia and the chief executives of tourism businesses, is also planned as the two countries seek to win back tourism.

It’s the start of a three-week break for New Zealand MPs. Acting Prime Minister Grant Robertson has Covid-19 but hoped to recover in time to travel later in the week for the ANZLF talks.

Covid-19 has also caught up with Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, who was due to travel to Fiji for the Pacific Islands foreign ministers’ meeting later this week, ahead of next week’s leaders’ meetings. The government will send another minister instead.

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