Prime Ministers John Key and Julia Gillard met in Queenstown
on 9 February 2013 for the annual Australia-New Zealand Leadersí meeting,
reaffirming their strong commitment to the closest possible relations
between Australia and New Zealand.
They reiterated their expressions of deep sympathy for the victims of the floods and fires in Australia and noted that helping each other in times of need had become hallmarks of the bilateral partnership. Prime Ministers welcomed good progress made in Christchurchís recovery following the terrible earthquake of 2011. They also expressed their sadness at the loss of life and damage in the Solomon Islands caused by the 6 February tsunami.
30 Years of Closer Economic Relations
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Closer Economic Relations (CER) agreement, one of the most successful and dynamic economic agreements internationally. The Prime Ministers observed that the relationship which has developed through CER has served both countries well, making Australia and New Zealand two of the most integrated economies in the world.
CER and the Single Economic Market (SEM) agenda have brought down barriers to trade reduced costs for business, encouraged investment and created jobs and economic growth for both Australia and New Zealand.
The Prime Ministers emphasised that the integration of the two countriesí economies, and their commitment to an international partnership, will support Australia and New Zealandís joint interests in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. They agreed the best way for the two governments to position their economies to secure the enormous potential benefits of the Asian Century will be to enhance their productivity and competitiveness.
The Prime Ministers agreed on the following immediate steps to mark the 30th Anniversary of CER and deepen integration:
The Prime Ministers welcomed the
report of the Productivity Commissionsí joint
study, commissioned at their 2012 Leadersí Meeting, to identify options for
further reforms to boost productivity, increase competitiveness and drive
deeper economic integration between Australia and New Zealand. Prime Ministers
acknowledged the Commissionsí conclusions about the benefits of CER to both
countries and the extensive economic integration and cooperation achieved
over the past 30 years. The recommendations of this groundbreaking joint study,
the first of its kind, were a focus of Leadersí Meeting discussions. The two
Governments welcomed many of the recommendations related to business law,
commerce, regulation, trade and investment, biosecurity, transport, telecommunications,
taxation, people movement, government services and coordination of the next
steps in the economic relationship, and committed to finalising their joint
response to the report by mid-2013 with an emphasis on measures that will
produce net trans-Tasman benefits.
The Prime Ministers noted the findings and recommendations of the Productivity Commissions on mutual recognition of imputation credits. They noted officials are preparing a full response to the Productivity Commissionsí report which would cover all recommendations including this issue.
The two Leaders welcomed the ongoing work being done through the CER Ministerial Forum to realise the full potential of CER. They looked forward to the further opportunity to share Australia and New Zealandís experience of trans-Tasman integration with ASEAN at the third ASEAN-CER Integration Partnership Forum later in the year.
Defence and Security Cooperation
The Prime Ministers underlined the importance of close cooperation and coordination on national security and defence. Prime Ministers recognised the growing cyber security threat to government and business networks, and to individual citizens. Noting the important role that enhanced trans-Tasman cooperation has to play in complementing domestic efforts to address this challenge, Prime Ministers welcomed the Australia-New Zealand Cyber Dialogue, established in 2012, as a strong and practical platform to address common cyber concerns. They agreed that officials would work on arrangements to enhance cooperation between the Australian and New Zealand Cyber Security Centres, including New Zealand participation in the new Australian Cyber Security Centre, and that both countries will work together in the cyber incident response area to ensure that networks of national importance remain resilient to cyber intrusions.
Prime Ministers acknowledged the depth and breadth of defence cooperation, and committed to maintaining high levels of defence force inter-operability and effectiveness especially as operations in the Solomon Islands, Timor Leste and Afghanistan are drawn down or come to an end.
Continuing Trans-Tasman Cooperation
The Prime Ministers reaffirmed their agreement to work closely together in the lead-up to the Centenary of the ANZAC landings in 2015, and other important First World War centennial commemorations. In addition to being solemn occasions of great historical importance, these events also present opportunities to celebrate the ANZAC spirit and to serve as major milestones in the bilateral relationship.
Prime Ministers noted the success of the Criminal History Information Sharing trial for employment vetting announced at their 2012 meeting. Prime Ministers look forward to the evaluation of the trial, which will consider the merits of expanding the trial to all Australian states. They confirmed their commitment to reciprocal information sharing for immigration and law enforcement purposes.
In recognition of the close cooperation that exists between Australia and New Zealand on crisis management, New Zealand was invited and became a full member of the Australian National Emergency Management Committee in 2012.
In the past year, New Zealand has also become a full member of the Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee (which includes both the Australian Federal and State governments) in recognition of the need to collaborate around terrorism threats.
The Prime Ministers noted progress to date and reaffirmed their commitment to see the Australia New Zealand Therapeutic Products Agency (ANZTPA) operational by mid 2016. Recalling that the agency should provide for efficient and cost-effective regulation of medicines and medical devices, Prime Ministers also recognised the benefit of a trans-Tasman centre of regulatory excellence for positioning Australia and NZ therapeutic producers in the regional and global market place. ANZTPA will establish an important precedent as the first fully joint trans-Tasman regulator.
Prime Ministers agreed that officials from Australia and New Zealand would work to investigate the possible implementation of a reciprocal student debt recovery scheme on a without-prejudice basis. Prime Ministers looked forward to a report from officials in advance of their 2014 Leadersí Meeting.
The Prime Ministers underlined their commitment to strong tobacco control measures and undertook to cooperate closely in their efforts to reduce tobacco use domestically and in the Pacific region. New Zealand will closely follow progress in implementation of Australiaís plain packaging legislation. Australia welcomed New Zealandís in-principle agreement in 2012, subject to the outcome of a consultation process, to introduce plain packaging, and awaits with interest New Zealandís further consideration of tobacco control measures following the completion of its public consultation process.
The Prime Ministers agreed to provide NZ$3 million in matched funding over two years to support Trans-Tasman collaboration to identify potential vaccines for rheumatic fever. Rheumatic Fever is a significant issue for Māori, Pacific and Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and an effective vaccine would be a major step forward for the health of these communities in both countries and across the Pacific.
Regional and Global Issues
The Prime Ministers acknowledged the sacrifices made by defence and civilian personnel from both Australia and New Zealand in Afghanistan. They welcomed the good progress made on transition to date, and reaffirmed their commitment to work closely with Afghan and coalition partners on troop drawdowns and planning for the international communityís involvement in the country once transition is complete at the end of 2014.
Prime Ministers noted Australiaís and New Zealandís close cooperation over the past decade in Timor Leste and welcomed the recent completion of the UN mission as a critical point in Timor Lesteís political and security transition. The leaders reaffirmed their support for Timor-Leste as it moves into this new stage. The Prime Ministers welcomed the close cooperation between Australia and New Zealand, along with the Solomon Islands Government and regional partners, in the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI). They committed to continue working closely with the Solomon Islands Government to consolidate RAMSIís gains as the missionís gradual draw down progresses.
The two leaders reaffirmed both countriesí commitment to addressing people smuggling in the Asia Pacific region and its tragic consequences, including loss of life at sea.
The two leaders emphasised that people smuggling was a regional concern requiring a strong regional approach and reaffirmed their commitment to the effective implementation of the Bali Process Regional Cooperation Framework (RCF) to counter people smuggling. They welcomed the establishment in September 2012 of the Bali Process Regional Support Office, and its active work program, as a practical step in the implementation of the RCF.
To advance both countriesí strong interest in preventing asylum seekers risking their lives on dangerous boat journeys, the two leaders agreed to enhanced bilateral cooperation to deter people smuggling and address irregular migration through practical cooperation on migration, asylum and humanitarian issues.
The Prime Minister of New Zealand advised that New Zealand will work closely with Australia to annually resettle 150 refugees who have arrived irregularly in Australia by boat to seek asylum, as part of a regional approach to irregular migration. The arrangement will be within New Zealandís Refugee Quota Programme and operate so that irregular maritime arrivals gain no advantage through choosing irregular migration pathways.
Prime Ministers reiterated the importance of enhanced regional cooperation through the East Asia Summit (EAS), Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).
Both countries agreed to maintain close consultation with each other and with international partners on developments in Fiji. Prime Ministers remained concerned about the Fiji interim governmentís recent handling of the draft constitution process and the onerous requirements imposed around the registration of political parties. They reaffirmed the need for Fiji to return to democracy and the rule of law.
The two Prime Ministers reinforced their commitment to work closely together in the Pacific to build broad-based economic growth and sustainable livelihoods. In this context they supported the forthcoming review of the Pacific Plan. They also highlighted the importance of renewable energy in the Pacific, including the Pacific Energy Summit to be hosted in Auckland in March 2013.
The Prime Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to free and open trade in the face of global economic uncertainty. Both countries will do all they can to move the WTO agenda forward in the lead-up to the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali in December and in the period thereafter.
The Prime Ministers also reaffirmed both countriesí commitment to eliminating tariffs and other barriers to trade and investment, through the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations. They highlighted their ambition to achieve agreements that are comprehensive, high-quality and contribute to regional and global economic growth and development.
The Prime Ministers remained resolutely opposed to commercial whaling, including so-called "scientific" whaling, in particular in the Southern Ocean.
Protection of the marine environment in the Southern Ocean was also a focus for Australia and New Zealand, with each country strongly supportive of proposals for large-scale marine protected areas in East Antarctica and the Ross Sea region under the auspices of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.
Australia and New Zealand continue to work closely and constructively on climate change issues, and are committed to on-going climate action. Australia has taken a second Kyoto commitment and New Zealand will set a firm post-2012 emissions target under the Protocolís parent body (the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change). Both countries have the shared objective of negotiating an ambitious new global climate change agreement, which will see all major developed and developing economies taking legal commitments to reduce their emissions from 2020. Australian and New Zealand officials will continue to work together on ways to enhance and ensure the viability of international carbon markets, which are Ė and will increasingly be Ė a centrepiece of many countriesí mitigation efforts.
Prime Minister Key congratulated Australia on its successful election to the UN Security Council, while Prime Minister Gillard confirmed Australiaís full support for New Zealandís bid for Security Council membership in 2015-16.
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