NZ-Aust Foreign Affairs, Defence ministers to meet
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Judith Collins will travel to Melbourne today (31 January) for the inaugural Australia and New Zealand Foreign and Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ANZMIN).
The “2+2” format allows Ministers to develop shared objectives and approaches to the interconnected areas of foreign policy, security and defence. This week’s meeting is the first time New Zealand’s Foreign and Defence Ministers have met in this format with their counterparts from another country.
“The meeting is an important opportunity to discuss our shared commitment to our alliance and identify avenues through which to deepen our cooperation,” Mr Peters says.
“In these increasingly complex and challenging times, we need to prioritise our relationships with partners who know us and share our values. In that respect, there is no country more important to New Zealand than Australia.”
Ms Collins says the meeting is an opportunity to align and strengthen our responses to international developments, particularly those in the Pacific, and wider Indo-Pacific region.
“Australia is our only formal ally and it is in our mutual interest to work together to support a stable and secure region. We are stronger and more effective together,” she says.
The Ministers also plan to discuss key global issues, including AUKUS, the Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas conflicts, and the Houthi attacks on the Red Sea.
This week will be the first face-to-face meeting between Mr Peters and his Australian counterpart, Penny Wong, and the second engagement between Ms Collins and her counterpart, Richard Marles, who is also the Australian Deputy Prime Minister. New Zealand Foreign and Defence Ministers have regular engagement with their Australian counterparts but this will be the first meeting of this type.
Mr Peters and Ms Collins will also hold separate bilateral discussions with their Australian counterparts.
The delegation returns to New Zealand on 1 February.