Ardern hopeful of strong relationship with new Australian PM Scott Morrison

August 29, 2018

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she looks forward to building a strong relationship with new Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Ardern told reporters this afternoon she had already phoned Morrison to congratulate him on the win.

They had discussed opportunities to meet and it was likely it could be at one of several upcoming events including the Pacific Islands Forum, UN General Assembly, APEC and East Asia Summit.

“He’s been involved proactively in promoting New Zealand to the world. He acknowledged his warmth for this country. I look forward to building a really strong relationship with him,” Ardern said.

Asked whether the change in leadership could result in some better outcomes for New Zealanders in Australia, Ardern said regardless who was in charge, the Government would continue to advocate for New Zealanders in Australia.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said Morrison was hitting the ground running where New Zealand was concerned because of his previous familiarity.

“He’s known to New Zealanders, he’s worked in New Zealand, he’ll be more familiar with New Zealand’s political mores, so to speak, so in that sense it’s a very positive outcome.”

Peters said the prospect of a dialogue over the rights of New Zealanders in Australia and the issue of deportations was more likely today than it was yesterday as a result.

The issue of deportations has been a sticky one for transtasman relations of late, with Justice Minister Andrew Little and Peters both weighing in on Australia’s policy, led by former immigration minister Peter Dutton to remove New Zealanders from Australia, sometimes without charge or trial.

National leader Simon Bridges also congratulated Morrison.

“When I met Scott I was struck by what a warm friend of New Zealand he is, he knows our country very well, Bridges said in a statement.

“Australia is New Zealand’s closest bilateral partner. The relationship between our two countries is strong, and enhanced by shared values on issues like trade, defence, and security matters. I look forward to further strengthening this relationship as Leader of the Opposition with Mr Morrison.

Bridges also acknowledged outgoing prime minister Malcolm Turnbull for his commitment to the transtasman relationship.

Morrison helped set up the New Zealand Office of Tourism and Sport in the 1990s, which substantially reformed tourism marketing, research and forecasting.

The office helped create the 100 Per Cent Pure New Zealand campaign.

He was criticised by Labour when the office got into trouble as then tourism minister Murray McCully’s “hard man”.

“My experience with Australian politicians is that rules and ethics are not as important to them as they are to New Zealanders,” Labour’s sports spokesman Trevor Mallard said at the time

Morrison would not comment, saying he had “no interest in New Zealand politics”.

He left with a year to go on his contract in March 2000 and went on to become state director of the Liberal Party before being appointed as Tourism Australia managing director in 2004.


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