The Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Anthony Albanese, and the Prime Minister of Aotearoa New Zealand, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, joined by Ministerial colleagues from both countries, met in Sydney on 8 July 2022 for the annual Australia New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting.
The Prime Ministers’ discussion reflected the richness of trans-Tasman cooperation; their shared perspectives and goals on regional and global issues; and a joint desire to see our world-leading cooperation grow from strength to strength.
Australia and New Zealand have a uniquely close relationship. Our countries’ deep friendship is bound together by our history and our home in the Blue Pacific Continent. We are united by shared values, a common outlook and deep people-to-people links.
Meeting during Australia’s NAIDOC Week, the Prime Ministers acknowledged the unique role of Māori and Australia’s First Nations peoples in the identity of both our countries, including their rich cultures and languages, and their ancestral, spiritual and continuing connections to the land, water and community.
The Prime Ministers acknowledged the important contribution of First Nations and Māori peoples in Australia and New Zealand and committed to working together to continue strengthening indigenous voices and perspectives in policymaking and diplomacy, including through the Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand Indigenous Collaboration Arrangement.
Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of an Indigenous Trans-Tasman Strategic Alliance Agreement on Science and Innovation (ITSAASI) between the Federation of Māori Authorities (FOMA) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait counterpart scientists at a Signing Ceremony in Canberra on 5 July, witnessed by Australian and New Zealand Chief Scientists.
The Prime Ministers reflected on the enduring value of trans-Tasman ties for the people of both countries. They discussed New Zealand and Australia’s pandemic recovery, and the economic opportunities this presents. They welcomed the re-opening of travel between Australia and New Zealand.
The Prime Ministers committed to working together to achieve greater prosperity for our citizens. New Zealanders and Australians who choose to move between our countries represent our close ties and kinship. Both leaders agreed that no New Zealander or Australian should be rendered permanently “temporary” when it comes to residence in either country, and agreed to ensure viable pathways to citizenship. Reflecting the Prime Ministers’ shared ambition for the bilateral relationship, Australia and New Zealand will identify options to provide citizens of both countries better access to opportunities and benefits and enable more enduring social and economic integration outcomes by ANZAC Day 2023.
The Prime Ministers noted the value of the Australia–New Zealand Closer Economic Relations free trade agreement (CER) in underpinning our unique trade and economic relationship. They looked forward to celebrating its 40th year in 2023 and agreed to mark the anniversary in ways that reflect CER’s continued vitality and importance.
Prime Ministers noted the success of the Single Economic Market (SEM) under CER and recognised ongoing progress since their last meeting on trans-Tasman integration across a range of areas such as mutual recognition of digital identity, circular economy and seamless movement of goods and people. They agreed relevant ministers would continue to deepen economic integration between New Zealand and Australia for the benefit of businesses and consumers in both countries.
The Prime Ministers also noted the 80th anniversary of reciprocal diplomatic representation in 2023. They emphasised their commitment to ensuring the trans‑Tasman partnership remains agile and responsive to a changing world. They agreed to enhance the trans-Tasman bilateral architecture by establishing annual meetings of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Treasurer/Finance and Climate Change Ministers.
The Prime Ministers reflected on the strength of the Australia–New Zealand bilateral defence partnership, and reiterated their shared commitment to advance interoperability. They reaffirmed their commitment to the global non-proliferation regime and their determination that both countries continue to meet their non‑proliferation obligations. They resolved to build support for practical measures for nuclear disarmament, including at the forthcoming 10th Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
As proud Pacific nations, the Prime Ministers reaffirmed their steadfast commitment to supporting a peaceful, stable, prosperous, and resilient Pacific, with a strong and united Pacific Islands Forum at the centre. The Prime Ministers recognised the importance of the Pacific Islands Forum and welcomed the sustained efforts of Pacific leaders in support of Forum unity. They underscored that Pacific countries’ own priorities should guide our regional engagement, and called on other partners to adopt this approach. To this end, they looked forward to reconnecting with their Pacific counterparts at the Pacific Island Forum in Suva (Fiji) the following week, and to the important discussions set to take place on the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.
The Prime Ministers noted with utmost concern that human activities have caused around 1.1 degrees of global warming to date, and emphasised the urgent need for all nations to collectively reduce emissions and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. Prime Ministers acknowledged climate change is the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific. They discussed the need to deliver effective climate finance and address climate adaptation in the region. They recognised the importance of working together in order to accelerate climate action and support the ambitions of Pacific island countries to lower greenhouse gas emissions and increase climate resilience.
Prime Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to support the region’s COVID-19 recovery, prosperity and security, including through joint support for high-quality, climate-resilient infrastructure. The two countries will work in concert with Pacific island countries and other partners through the Pacific Islands Forum, and through the successful implementation of the PACER Plus trade agreement and other regional trade arrangements.
They noted the region’s long tradition of working together in a transparent and consultative way to advance regional priorities, including Pacific Island countries’ strong commitment and capacity to meet the security needs of the region, as articulated in the Biketawa Declaration and Boe Declaration on Regional Security. To that end, the Prime Ministers highlighted the value of consultation on security measures within the region and called on other partners to engage with the region on security issues in an open and frank manner in line with regional priorities.
The Prime Ministers committed to working collaboratively with Pacific countries to strengthen gender equality, champion women’s empowerment and social inclusion across the region and in Australia and New Zealand.
The Prime Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to an open and resilient Indo-Pacific which is stable, prosperous and respectful of sovereignty. The Prime Ministers expressed concern about growing challenges to agreed rules, which threatens to undermine the region’s security, and committed to strengthen cooperation and coordination to support robust regional institutions and respect for international rules and norms.
They reiterated the importance of ASEAN centrality and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific to their shared vision for the region. They reaffirmed their commitment to a substantial conclusion of negotiations to upgrade the Agreement to Establish the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) by September 2022, and effective implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP). They highlighted their shared commitment to the East Asia Summit as the region’s premier, leader-level forum for strategic exchange.
The Prime Ministers reiterated their strong support for the ASEAN-led efforts to chart a course out of the crisis in Myanmar and urged the Myanmar military to engage meaningfully with ASEAN to urgently implement the ASEAN Five Point Consensus. They called on the Myanmar military to cease violence; engage in dialogue; release those arbitrarily detained, including Australian Professor Sean Turnell; and allow unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance.
The Prime Ministers welcomed the recent launch of discussions on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) and reiterated their commitment to work closely with regional partners to strengthen links and prosperity.
The Prime Ministers reaffirmed their ongoing commitment to a free, open and secure internet. They agreed to continue working together to combat online terrorism and violent extremism, and reiterated their commitment to the Christchurch Call to Action, and to advancing collaborative multistakeholder approaches to address global tech challenges.
The Prime Ministers also agreed to continue to work together in the World Trade Organization, APEC and other key international organisations in support of open, rules-based trade. Leaders welcomed the strong outcomes on the pandemic response and fisheries subsidies at the recent 12th WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva. Australia and New Zealand will continue to work closely together on meaningful progress on agricultural trade reform, including on agricultural subsidies.
The Prime Ministers noted the positive developments in their external trade and economic relationships, and the impetus these brought in support of the multilateral trading system. They reinforced the importance of early entry into force of their countries’ bilateral trade agreements with the United Kingdom, and noted that this will underpin the United Kingdom’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) Agreement. As the first country to seek to accede to CPTPP, the UK’s accession process sets an important precedent for future candidates. The Prime Ministers expressed their strong support for the CPTPP accession guidelines and consensus-based decision making on accession matters, whereby any applicant economy must demonstrate it will meet, implement, and adhere to the high standard rules and ambition of the agreement.
The Prime Ministers condemned Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. They discussed the response of the international community in holding Russia responsible for its unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression. They reaffirmed their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and their commitment to continue to encourage international cooperation to support Ukraine for as long as it takes. They recalled the close coordination between New Zealand and Australia on sanctions against Russia and Belarus, on the international diplomatic response, and on military and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine. They urged Russia to immediately stop its indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, and withdraw all its troops and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine.
The Prime Ministers affirmed the need for both countries to hold fast to their values in support of the international rules-based order, which underpins the rights and sovereignty of all countries. They agreed to continue to work together through the United Nations and other multilateral institutions, including to promote respect for human rights. Leaders reiterated concerns regarding the human-rights violations in Xinjiang, and the erosion of rights and freedoms in Hong Kong.
The Prime Ministers expressed serious concern over developments in the South China Sea, including the continued militarisation of disputed features and an intensification of destabilising actions that increase tensions in the area. The Prime Ministers further underscored the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight, as guaranteed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). They emphasised that maritime zones must accord with UNCLOS and called on all parties to respect and implement decisions rendered through UNCLOS dispute settlement mechanisms.
The Prime Ministers condemned North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile tests this year, all of which violated its obligations under United Nations Security Council resolutions. They both expressed deep concern that North Korea appears to be ready to conduct a nuclear test, and implored North Korea to return to dialogue and diplomacy and abandon its reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, which threaten stability and security on the Korean peninsula and in the broader Indo-Pacific region. Both leaders reaffirmed the importance of fully implementing United Nations Security Council sanctions on North Korea.
The leaders highlighted their mutual ambition for taking the bilateral relationship to new heights in 2023 as we mark 40 years of our ground-breaking CER agreement, and 80 years of opening diplomatic missions in each other’s country. They look forward to the next ANZLM meeting, in New Zealand in 2023.