Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met in Wellington today for their first annual Australia-New Zealand Leaders Meeting.
The meeting took place as the countries celebrate the 40th anniversary of Closer Economic Relations (CER), the 50th anniversary of the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement, and the 80th anniversary of diplomatic representation.
“It was great to meet again with Prime Minister Albanese to celebrate our closest international relationship, mark this special year of anniversaries and work towards an even better future,” Chris Hipkins said.
“It’s the fifth time we’ve met in seven months, highlighting the special bond between our countries. While I believe our relationship is as strong as it’s ever been, I know we can keep building on those ties by modernising our agreements and continuing to cooperate in our mutual best interest.
“The Australia New Zealand Leader’s Meeting is our annual opportunity to assess and set priorities for the relationship for the following year.
“Today, we agreed to put together a joint Australia-New Zealand expert group, with a clear deadline of 12 months, to scope initiatives to move closer towards seamless travel across the Tasman.
“We agreed it’s worthwhile to re-engage on a process to find workable measures that would help trans-Tasman businesses and tourism with a simplified border.
“But it’s not straightforward. Our border is a big part of what keeps us safe. It’s where we manage major biosecurity, people, health and security risks.
“This process will bring the experts together to talk about whether there are ways in which we reduce barriers at the border, while not compromising our security.
The group will report back by the end of June 2024.
Further information can be found here.