Jacinda Ardern wins French support for EU free trade negotiations

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has won support from France to begin free trade negotiations with the European Union.

She met for an hour-long meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at Elysee Palace on Monday night. Ms Ardern says she wants a deal with the EU to model progressive trade "to enhance and enforce our social and environmental objectives".

She says she's heartened by the support for the proposed New Zealand European Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and hopes it will help sway EU member states to issue a negotiation mandate.

"New Zealand has been seeking a mandate for some time. It represents $15 billion worth of trade so it's hugely significant to us. We anticipated that given the vote was coming soon, that we needed to build support for that mandate as broadly as possible," Ms Ardern said.

Mr Macron believes our desire to address climate change aligns with the EU.

"Agreements that are consistent with the implementation of the Paris Accord requiring a high degree of commitment in terms of social responsibility and wellbeing for all," he said, translated from French.

The pair also spoke about climate change - with both leaders passionate about working towards the Paris Accord.

President Macron said it needs urgent attention, especially in the Pacific.

"To your personal commitment, and the courageous initiatives undertaken in the face of this peril that threatens the existence of several island states known to be in the Pacific."

Ms Ardern said the two countries were "closely aligned" on the issue.

"Within the EU France represents possibly the greatest interest in the Pacific so to be able to discuss some of the issues that exist in that region, particularly climate change, was very important to us."

She is due to visit Germany on Tuesday to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel, before travelling to London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting from Wednesday.

The EU is due to discuss the mandate for the New Zealand European Union FTA at a meeting later next month.