New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday in Downing Street to strengthen relations in the Indo-Pacific and promote common interests.
The Prime Minister has agreed to improve trade and travel liquidity through a recently signed free trade agreement (FTA) and changes to the visa system for young people.
“We are pleased to have completed the upgrade to the Working Holiday / Youth Mobility scheme, which will allow more UK and New Zealand citizens to travel and work longer in each other’s countries.” Ardern says.
The visa was extended from 30 to 35 years and the length of stay was extended to 3 years.
According to the joint statement, the decision to strengthen visas showed the “scale” of mutual benefit that underpins the relationship between the two democracies.
Britain’s Interior Minister, Priti Patel, said the improved visa system would give more young people from both countries the opportunity to hone their skills, build deeper ties and contribute to host countries.
“Travel, live and work abroad will be a wonderful and rich experience. The UK loves to welcome Kiwi on a trip here, but thousands of British have a similar life to the Southern Hemisphere. I made a journey to change, “Patel said.
Ardern and Johnson have also agreed on a new rapid customs clearance process for trade aimed at benefiting exporters accessing both markets. It is based on the New Zealand and UK FTAs signed in February.
“Earlier this year, the signing of an FTA with one of our largest trading partners, the United Kingdom, provides a platform for further growth of our business-economic ties,” Ardern said.
New Zealand welcomes shift to Indo-Pacific
The Prime Minister also discussed key challenges and opportunities facing the world today, such as security and defense, climate change, and online security, and how the two countries will work together.
The two governments repeated “clear condemnation” of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and New Zealand also welcomed the UK’s security focus on the Indo-Pacific.
“We reaffirm our support for freedom of navigation and flight over the South China Sea and beyond,” the Prime Minister said in a joint statement. “The two countries also emphasize the importance of peace and stability throughout the Taiwan Strait and encourage peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues through dialogue.”
The two leaders also reiterated “grave concerns” about the erosion of Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China.
Ardern will visit Australia for five days on July 4, flying directly from Europe as trade missions to various countries continue.
“Australia is the second largest trading partner with over NZ $ 22 billion (US $ 13.7 billion) in two-way trade in the year to December 2021, and the first export to be noted by many New Zealand companies. It’s a market, “she said. statement.