Prime Minister Anthony Albanese holds first official meeting with New Zealand counterpart Christopher Luxon

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese holds first official meeting with New Zealand counterpart Christopher Luxon
  • PublishedDecember 20, 2023

It is the first in-person meeting between the leaders since Mr Luxon was sworn in last month.

The pair discussed Mr Luxon’s interest in exploring opportunities to participate in technology sharing under the AUKUS partnership between Australia, the UK and the US.

Mr Albanese said he was supportive of opportunities for greater co-operation between the two countries’ defence forces.

The two leaders spoke warmly of their relationship, with Mr Albanese noting they had known each other for “a very long period of time”, dating back to Mr Luxon’s tenure as the chief executive of Air New Zealand, which overlapped with Mr Albanese’s period as transport minister.

Mr Luxon thanked Mr Albanese for his recent decision to make it easier for New Zealanders to gain Australian citizenship.

“Just putting it out there, I think they’re probably your best migrants,” Mr Luxon said.

Mr Luxon, who leads the conservative National Party, became prime minister after weeks of negotiations with minor parties, resulting in a coalition with the ACT Party and the NZ First.

His first actions in the job included disbanding the Māori Health Service, reducing the use of Māori language in the public service, and announcing plans to repeal legislation to outlaw tobacco smoking.

Those decisions prompted accusations from Māori Party co-leader Hauāuru Debbie Ngarewa-Packer that the government had deteriorated race relations to their worst level “since the earliest stages of colonisation”.

Asked about those comments today, Mr Luxon said his government had a “difference of opinion” with the Māori Party and did not believe a separate health authority would deliver good outcomes.

Mr Albanese said he had “no intention of commenting on domestic New Zealand politics”, but re-affirmed his own government’s commitment to closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Last week, Mr Albanese and Mr Luxon joined with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to call for “urgent international efforts towards a sustainable ceasefire” in Gaza.


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