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Newly-elected New Zealand PM to visit Australia

IANS | Canberra |

Australian Prime Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday announced that his newly-elected New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern will visit the country on November 5, saying he was looking forward to meet her.

Confirming the visit at a press conference here, Turnbull said that Australia and New Zealand have shared a close bond for decades, likening the relationship between the two nations to that of a “family”, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Australia and New Zealand are not just mates, we are family… Our relationship is built on a solid foundation of economic, security, community and historical ties.”

The Prime Minister said “economic integration” would be one of the key focus points when they meet in Sydney.

“Our economic integration over the past 30 years is a remarkable success story.

“In 2016, our two-way trade reached 24.8 billion Australian dollars and two-way investment totalled 153 billion Australian dollars.

“Prime Minister Ardern and I will discuss how we can further our trade and economic opportunities and promote jobs and skills development in both countries,” he said.

Turnbull added that there would also be discussions relating to the Australia-New Zealand defence partnership, as well as other regional issues in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Our discussions will cover a wide range of topics including the forthcoming APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) Leaders’ Meeting in Vietnam, the East Asia Summit in the Philippines and how we can work most effectively together with our South Pacific neighbours.”