Winston hosts positive first talks with Australian Foreign Minister

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Foreign Minister Winston Peters and his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop have been discussing foreign policy at Auckland's, Waiheke Island. A range of regional and international matters was tabled, including engagement in the Pacific and South-East Asia engagement and global security issues.

Peters said the first of their six-monthly talks were fruitful on a range of issues of mutual interest such including trade and terrorism.

Bishop says it was an opportunity to solidify a strong working relationship.

“New Zealand is our essential partner and natural partner. And that will continue,” she said.  

“We don’t always agree but we are able to work through any disagreements in a very positive way. And the deep affection between Australians and New Zealanders will continue.”

Te Kāea asked Minister Bishop about Māori detainees and deportees asking for fairer rights - who claim they are detained and then deported for what they claim as small crime.

“Our laws apply across the board, they're not directed at New Zealand. These visa laws apply to all countries with respect to Australia,” she said.

“Cases are being managed and discussed and I reiterate Australia's commitment to consult with New Zealand on matters that effect New Zealand citizens and affect our relationships.”

TPP was also discussed, with assurances given by both Ministers that both countries will benefit.

“We see it as an opportunity to really drive jobs growth in our exports sector. Australia like New Zealand is an open export orientated market economy,” said.

“We depend for economic growth and standard of living on selling our goods and services into existing markets or new markets around the world.”

Peters said, “The Trump administration was out on of TPP on the same grounds as the present government of New Zealand was out before the last election."

“But the reality is we've made giant steps in changing some of the issues and clauses that concerned us to do with our sovereignty and to do with the judicial findings there might be in whatever in what tribunal it might be.”

The talks were a forerunner to discussions that will take place in Sydney next month between Prime Minister’s Malcolm Turnbull and Jacinda Ardern.