PM Jacinda Ardern confirms she will meet US President Joe Biden at the White House next week
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed she will meet US President Joe Biden at the White House next Tuesday.
See what the PM had to say here:
Ardern spoke to the media at Harvard University after her meetings with US senators and representatives.
She says she will also meet Vice President Kamala Harris on the same day.
“My intention is to continue the conversations we had on Capitol Hill yesterday, there are a number of areas where the United States and New Zealand have very similar views, a number of areas where we want to see their presence continue or increase.”
“I imagine that on the agenda will be topics like the war in Ukraine and the tremendous efforts that New Zealand has made to ensure that we play our part. I imagine we will also be discussing our region and the fact that it’s becoming increasingly contested, and the role of the United States in our regional economy is important, and I imagine we’ll also be discussing trade for that purpose as well.
Ardern says it will be a smooth conversation.
“I will certainly convey New Zealand’s grief for what we have seen, seeing children at the heart of this most recent event is devastating so I will certainly acknowledge that.”
Ardern says they have three main goals in visiting the United States: “First, to make sure the world hears that New Zealand is open for business.”
Second is trade and investment and third, Ardern says political engagement is really important – making sure New Zealand has a strong relationship with the United States during the war in Ukraine and the growing tension in the Pacific region.
Ardern says New Zealand works with like-minded people who agree on the issues that matter to us.
“That continues to be our guiding principle.”
Ardern says she’s really looking forward to talking with Kamala Harris about things specific to her portfolio, especially space.
“New Zealand is not an emerging leader in this space, we are a developed leader in this space and at launch New Zealand is the fourth largest space operator in the world.”
New Zealand’s dialogue with the United States on the Pacific is frequent and growing, she said.
On the CPTPP, Ardern says she will “absolutely” push for the United States to join.
“We have been open about our view that the CPTPP is the best way for the United States to join and build our region’s economic resilience.”
There has obviously been a sea change in the way the United States engages in our region, she said.
The message from New Zealand will be that it is not just important to engage at the strategic level, but actually at the economic level.
Ardern says the Indo-Pacific economic framework demonstrates that they have heard the region.
“In our view, however, the CPTPP offers the best existing framework they can fit into.”
IPEF is always an opportunity to engage if national challenges prevent the United States from doing so, she said.
The CPTPP gains access to the New Zealand market, she says.
She highlighted the formula crisis in the United States and said that Fonterra is ready and willing to enter the market.
“But there are a number of regulatory reasons why it’s not easy.”
In the United States, Ardern visited senators in the United States Capitol and appeared on The Late Show.
Earlier this morning, she received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Boston University and delivered a commencement address titled “Democracy, Misinformation, and Kindness” at the graduation ceremony.
Watch it here:
In her speech, she says the issues she addressed today “are unfinished business for many of us”.
“I didn’t come here to talk about an issue that is only important to the United States, I came here to talk about an issue that, from a New Zealand perspective, I consider to be important and which, in my opinion, has profound ramifications for all of us.”
Ardern says that with this week’s school shootings and the ongoing legal abortion debate in the United States, she can understand why the issues of gun reform and abortion, mentioned in his speech, aroused so much emotion and reaction from those who listened to him.
“Those happen to be issues that New Zealand have been through, we’ve done it in our own way and hopefully over time the United States will too.”
“I actually wish I had a little more opportunity to be in the moment, but my teleprompter malfunctioned pretty consistently throughout today’s talk – about every 10 seconds. , the speech was disappearing entirely for about 3 seconds at a time and so if you noticed a few pregnant pauses, that’s because I was waiting for my words to come back to my screen,” she laughs.
She said it was a stressful situation.
“Otherwise it was an incredible opportunity, not for me, but for New Zealand and I felt very honored to take it.”