John Key ready to talk terrorism, trade in Indonesia

Prime Minister John Key in Jakarta
Prime Minister John Key in Jakarta

The fight against terrorism will be high on the agenda when Prime Minister John Key meets with Indonesian President Joko Widodo later on Monday.

Mr Key touched down in Indonesia overnight from France. He was in Paris during the attack on a Bastille Day celebration in Nice.

Indonesia has its own problems with terrorism - earlier this year an Islamic State attack in Jakarta killed eight people, including four civilians.

"Both Indonesia and France potentially have quite large numbers of foreign fighters and that presents an added complication for them," says Mr Key.

With a population of around 255 million, Indonesia is home to the largest number of Muslims in the world.

Boosting New Zealand's trade ties with Indonesia will also be a major focus for the Prime Minister.

"So there's a lot of things to discuss with the Indonesians. Clearly there's economic issues we'll want to talk about, opportunities for both countries. They range from exporting products like meat right through to tourism and education," says Mr Key.

Accompanying the Prime Minister on this trip is a senior New Zealand business delegation.

Mr Key says he won't be shying away from human rights issues and he'll again be raising New Zealand's "deep opposition" to the death penalty when he meets Mr Widodo.

There are more than 200 people on death row in Indonesia, just over a quarter of them for drug-related crimes.

"As we say to all of these countries, while we absolutely have sympathy for what they're dealing with, and while those who commit crimes should be held to account, there are better ways of doing it than the death penalty," Mr Key told reporters.

Indonesia's attorney-general indicated last month that 16 people were set to face the firing squad this year, and that there was the budget to execute another 30 in 2017.

Amnesty International hopes Mr Key will follow through with raising Indonesia's human rights abuses which extend further than the death penalty and into areas like freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Campaigns manager Meg de Ronde told Paul Henry on Monday that the New Zealand Government does have a good record on raising human rights concerns with other countries.

The organisation had spoken to Trade Minister Todd McClay about the importance of human rights issues to trade.

Ms de Ronde says President Widodo had promised to improve the country's human rights record, but the situation hasn't got better.

"Under his leadership, Indonesia has seen a resurgence of executions. Last year they shot 14 people for crimes which don't meet international standards for use of the death penalty, let alone their own Indonesian law."

She says so far this year, 15 others are facing the firing squad with "four or five" already moved to a prison used for executions.

"This is an inhumane, abhorrent practice and one the rest of the world is moving away from," she says.

She says continued pressure on Indonesia is important.

"This is the first trade meeting we've had with Indonesia, it is important to draw a line in the sand, and say these are our values and this is what we need to see from you and we hope the Prime Minister will do that."

That continued pressure over 30 years has already seen a "handful" of countries deciding not to use the death penalty to more than 140 which have it in practice or in law.

Accompanying the Prime Minister on this trip is a senior New Zealand business delegation.

Newshub. / NZN