Joint statement: Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand Foreign Minister Consultations

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Penny Wong welcomed Aotearoa New Zealand's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon Nanaia Mahuta to Canberra today for biannual Australia – Aotearoa New Zealand Foreign Minister Consultations.

The Ministers acknowledged the unique strength of the relationship between Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, reaffirmed the shared values, common outlook and close people-to-people links that underpin our partnership and affirmed their shared commitment to uphold international law and norms.

The Ministers agreed on the need to work purposefully and in close partnership to support peace, stability, prosperity, and resilience in our region. They noted the bonds of history, community and culture that we share as members of the Pacific family. They reaffirmed their commitment to listening to and supporting Pacific aspirations and noted the need to work creatively to ensure the national capabilities of Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand can be brought to bear for the benefit of the region.

The Ministers recognised the climate emergency as the greatest threat to Pacific security and wellbeing. They noted the commitments of both countries to combatting climate change in the Pacific, alongside measures to reduce emissions and facilitate energy transition and climate science. They agreed to deepen cooperation on these issues.

They welcomed the outcomes of the recent UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, including agreement to a fund for loss and damage. Minister Mahuta reaffirmed New Zealand’s support for Australia’s bid to co-host COP 31 in 2026 in partnership with the Pacific. The Ministers agreed to coordinate closely as Australia’s bid progresses.

The Ministers reaffirmed the preeminent role of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and other Pacific regional institutions, which continue to serve the region well. They committed to support Cook Islands in its capacity as incoming chair of the PIF, and to help operationalise the Suva Agreement for PIF unity. Ministers expressed hope that ongoing efforts at reconciliation between PIF and Kiribati would be successful.

The Ministers welcomed the increased engagement in the Pacific among development partners, including through the recently-formed Partners in the Blue Pacific initiative. They noted the opportunity this increased engagement represented for the region, and agreed on the ongoing importance that the initiative is led by Pacific priorities and supports enhanced partnerships.

The Ministers noted that the COVID-19 situation remains challenging and unpredictable and reaffirmed their commitment to support the economic recovery efforts in our region.

The Ministers exchanged perspectives on elevating First Nations and Māori voices in foreign policy and agreed this is an area of substantial national significance for both countries. Ministers agreed to continue to work together to encourage indigenous collaboration across the Tasman and regionally, including through the Indigenous Collaboration Arrangement and Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Cooperation Arrangement.

Ministers affirmed our countries are staunch supporters of the rules-based multilateral trading system, and advocates for regional trading architecture.

The Ministers again condemned Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and agreed on the vital need to continue working with partners to uphold international rules and norms. They also expressed their deep concerns about Russia’s conduct in waging a war of aggression against Ukraine, including Russia’s nuclear threats, which constitute a serious provocation and a threat to international peace and security.

Ministers underlined Russia’s war is having severe impacts on the global economy, including widespread energy and food insecurity in the most vulnerable countries, and reaffirmed their commitment to support partners to respond to these global challenges.

The Ministers acknowledged the important role played by APEC, the G20, and the ASEAN-led regional architecture including the East Asia Summit, as we navigate an increasingly complex geostrategic and economic landscape in our wider Indo-Pacific home region. They expressed their appreciation to hosts Thailand, Indonesia, and Cambodia for ensuring these forums retain their value for addressing strategic issues and risks.

The Ministers strongly condemned the ruthless suppression of peaceful protests by Iranian authorities. Ministers welcomed the recent UN Human Rights Council resolution establishing an independent fact-finding mission to thoroughly investigate alleged human rights violations in Iran related to the protests and restated their great concern that a member of the UN Commission on the Status of Women could violate the rights of women and girls with such disdain.

Bilaterally, the Ministers looked forward to 2023 and marking a range of significant bilateral anniversaries, including the 40th anniversary of the Closer Economic Relations Agreement which Ministers noted is one of the most effective, far‑reaching Free Trade Agreements, delivering deep economic integration across the full spectrum of our trade, economic and investment sectors.

The Ministers also looked forward to the inaugural joint meetings of Foreign and Defence Ministers, and Treasurer/Finance and Climate Change Ministers next year, as announced by Prime Minister Albanese and Prime Minister Ardern in July.