Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull arrived in Queenstown on Friday for his first annual leader's meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English. Upon his arrival at the Queenstown airport, Turnbull has headed to the Arrowtown war memorial where he and English have attended a wreath laying ceremony.
The two leaders have spoken with New Zealand veterans after the ceremony while their wives, Lucy Turnbull and Dr Mary English, have bonded with the kids from Arrowtown preschool, a nearby childcare centre. “You’re very lucky to live here kids. I think it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world,” Turnbull’s wife told the preschoolers.
The Turnbulls have spent a holiday in Queenstown and rode their bikes to Arrowtown. Meanwhile, Turnbull has invited English on a Kayak tour on Sydney Harbour.
Turnbull has also paid tribute to a helicopter pilot who served on Afghanistan. “New Zealand firefighting is a continuation of that great Anzac spirit. We are very, very sad from the death of the helicopter pilot who served on Afghanistan,” news.com.au has quoted Turnbull saying.
Turnbull and English are expected to have formal talks about pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) forward. Their first annual leader's meeting is also forecasted to centre on Christchurch fires and concerns related to the new US President Donald Trump’s actions.
In a press conference, English has earlier revealed that the two countries will be working hand in hand to urge other members of Trans-Pacific Partnership to take the stalled deal forward. Also known as Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), TPP is a 12-nation trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
Turnbull and English have been among the strongest advocates for the TPP, despite Trump withdrawing from the agreement. “We’ve been talking about this for a long time. It’s a great thing for the American worker,” Trump said after signing an executive order to withdraw the United States from the TPP.
The two leaders have previously met when English was still New Zealand’s Finance Minister. He has taken over the role as his country’s leader after his predecessor, John Key, has filed his resignation in December.
Turnbull and the former New Zealand leader had a close personal friendship as they were even spotted kayaking in Sydney Harbour last year. The Australian prime minister said the two countries were "very much of the same mind" as far as trade deals is concerned.