Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta is in Japan today to start a week-long tour of Southeast Asia to strengthen Aotearoa New Zealand’s connections with Indo-Pacific partners.
"Reconnecting New Zealand remains a key priority as we look to strengthen our economic resilience, and progress even stronger ties with our international partners," she said.
"Japan is our fourth-largest trading partner and an important source of investment. These links between our two countries are critical to New Zealand’s economic recovery and resilience," Mahuta said.
"I will meet Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi to discuss how we work together to ensure prosperity and security in the Indo-Pacific region.
"We will also discuss how our governments and business are collaborating on the technologies that will be needed to build the sustainable economies of the future."
Māori commercial opportunities
A Māori delegation will accompany Mahuta on the haerenga (journey) to Southeast Asia. She will meet other senior Japanese political leaders, attend a roundtable on Maori business with the Japan-New Zealand Business Council, and connect with Pacific ambassadors.
"I am looking to promote opportunities further to develop Māori commercial and cultural opportunities with Japanese partners.
"Aotearoa New Zealand and Japan have a longstanding, close and enduring relationship. Our strategic cooperative partnership has gone from strength to strength since its launch in 2013.
"Japan is a close, like-minded partner in the Indo-Pacific. We share common values and a commitment to an open, peaceful, prosperous and secure region," Mahuta said.
In Singapore, the minister will attend the Asia New Zealand Foundation’s Asia Honorary Advisers Meeting. This is the first in-person meeting of the Honorary Advisers network, which she chairs, since 2018.
Vital transport hub
Singapore is New Zealand's fifth-largest trading partner and the largest in Southeast Asia. It is also a vital transport hub for New Zealand exporters.
"Our bilateral relationship with Singapore became even stronger with last year's refresh of the New Zealand-Singapore enhanced partnership, which focused on climate change cooperation and the transition to a green economy," Mahuta said.
Mahuta will also meet the Singapore defence minister Dr Ng Eng Hen and Timor-Leste's foreign minister, Adaljiza Magno. Her meeting with Magno will culminate in the signing of aNew Zealand-Timor-Leste statement of partnership.