Morrison to visit New Zealand this month
Scott Morrison will make use of the trans-Tasman bubble next week, flying to Queenstown for bilateral talks with Jacinda Ardern.
The Australian and New Zealand prime ministers have locked in the South Island tourist hub for their annual leaders meeting.
Mr Morrison, accompanied by wife Jenny, will land in NZ on Saturday May 30 for a two-day visit.
Among formal discussions, the leaders will take in a Super Rugby match between the Otago Highlanders and Melbourne Rebels and lay a wreath at the Arrowtown War Memorial.
Ms Ardern said the visit would be "both a milestone and a pleasure".
"I'm looking forward to welcoming Prime Minister Morrison back to New Zealand following a difficult year for both our countries through the pandemic," she said.
"Our relationship with Australia is our closest and most important and this has never been more evident than in these trying times for the world."
Mr Morrison said it was fitting his first trip of 2021 was across the Tasman.
"Australia and New Zealand are family and we share deep historical bonds of friendship, trust and the Anzac spirit," he said.
"Both Australia and New Zealand have been world leaders in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this visit is a great illustration of the Trans-Tasman Safe Travel Zone in action."
The last Australia-NZ leaders' meeting took place in Sydney in February last year.
Then, Ms Ardern lashed Mr Morrison for Australia's stance on deporting criminals across the Tasman, saying "do not deport your people and your problems".
The Labour leader said neither PM would shy away from any difficult conversations on this trip - in keeping with the relationship.
"We don't allow these (issues) to just bank up, we share them at the time that they are problematic for us," she said.
"This meeting is really going to be a chance for us to talk about what's next for our relationship.
"I'd like to have a conversation around what our region's reconnection with the world will look like.
"I expect it will be a very practical meeting, where we will share in the same way that we have done over the past 12 months."
The visit will be Mr Morrison's second overseas trip since COVID-19 after he visited Japan in November last year to meet new prime minister Yoshihide Suga.
Mr Morrison spent 14 days in isolation after that trip - even appearing in parliament via videolink - but won't be required to do so after visiting NZ.
Ms Ardern is yet to leave New Zealand since the arrival of COVID-19, but will do so in July when she visits Australia on a trade mission.
Ms Ardern said the fact the meeting could take place in person was a significant achievement in itself.
"The key focus of the meeting will of course be our COVID-19 recovery as well as how we continue working together on key regional and security issues," she said.
"This visit will also be a good opportunity to celebrate the resumption of two-way quarantine free travel and to welcome our trans-Tasman cousins back to Aotearoa."
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