PM meets with UK PM David CameronPrime Minister
Prime Minister John Key says his meeting with UK Prime Minister David Cameron in London today provided an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of the relationship between the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
“The trade and economic links between our two countries are strong and long-standing. The UK remains one of New Zealand’s largest trading partners, with two-way trade totalling NZ$2.5 billion over the past year,” Mr Key says.
“The UK is a key destination for New Zealand food and beverages, including wine, lamb, fruit and vegetables. It is also New Zealand’s third largest source of international visitors and our third largest source of foreign investment, which is important for the Christchurch rebuild.
“Like New Zealand, the United Kingdom is focused on opportunities for closer engagement in the Asia Pacific region. New Zealand sees this as another thread to our relationship with the UK, and Europe generally.
“During the meeting with Mr Cameron, I outlined New Zealand’s ambitions to deepen our trade and economic relationship with the EU, including progression of a free trade agreement. We also we discussed how we could work together to develop opportunities in the Asia Pacific region,” Mr Key says.
“Our relationship with the UK not only encompasses trade and business ties, but also links through science and technology, defence, security cooperation, the arts and on the sports field.
“We also share strong historical ties. Next year we will mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War One, which helped to forge the modern relationship we have today with the UK. That is not something we take for granted.
“In commemorating our shared past, Mr Cameron and I both agreed we should take every opportunity to ensure the relationship remains relevant and continues to grow and develop.
“We also agreed it is the people-to-people links that keep the relationship vibrant and help to sustain it. In that context, I outlined New Zealand’s continued concerns over immigration restrictions and the air passenger duty tax.”
Mr Key says they also discussed a range of foreign policy, economic and defence interests during the meeting. This included issues related to the on-going turmoil in Egypt and Syria, relations with the European Union, development in the Pacific and the forthcoming CHOGM in Sri Lanka.
At the request of the UK, New Zealand will formally express its intention to join the Open Government Partnership (OGP) later this year.
The UK is the current lead co‑chair of the OGP – a grouping of 58 countries and nine civil society organisations committed to transparent and open government, combatting corruption, and harnessing new technologies.
“The OGP’s goals are consistent with New Zealand values and with our goals for international economic and social development, and I was pleased the UK invited us to join,” Mr Key says.
After the meeting with Mr Cameron, Mr Key also held talks with British Foreign Secretary William Hague.