It was an honour to welcome the New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, to Canberra, to discuss the bilateral and international issues which affect our two nations.
Australia and New Zealand have a strong, enduring friendship.
Together, we have achieved deep economic and social integration. Many Australians and New Zealanders take advantage of the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement which allows for the free movement of citizens of one nation to the other.
The Close Economic Relations arrangement, which marked its 30th anniversary this year, is the foundation of this partnership. It has allowed our businesses to deliver enormous benefits for both countries. New Zealand is our ninth largest trading partner; 17,000 Australian businesses have operations there.
The two countries have recently introduced new superannuation portability measures and set higher limits for Trans-Tasman investments.
April 25th 2015 will be a significant day in our two nations’ history. It will mark the Centenary of ANZAC, in honour of our young men who first landed at Gallipoli, to fight side by side during World War I. The ANZAC tradition has been a hallmark of our relationship and continues today in the form of close defence and security cooperation.
Prime Minister Key and I discussed a range of international issues. Australia and New Zealand both have a deep interest in seeing effective economic and political cooperation in the Asia Pacific region. That’s why we will both be attending APEC and the East Asia Summit leaders meetings next week in Bali and Brunei.
We have a joint commitment to concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations as soon as possible and our firm resolve is to work together with our neighbours in the South Pacific to enhance prosperity across the region.
Australia and New Zealand can be rightly proud that they have led the Regional Assistance Mission in Solomon Islands for over ten years.
Prime Minister Key and I agreed that it will be critical for the Syrian Government to honour its legally binding obligations under the UNSC Resolution to eliminate its entire chemical weapons capacity and underlined the need to convene Geneva II as soon as possible to work towards a political solution to the crisis.
I look forward to seeing Prime Minister Key in Australia early next year for the next annual leaders' meeting. I’m delighted that a delegation of New Zealand business leaders will accompany him for the visit.
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