Donald Trump signs new visa law for New Zealanders

US President Donald Trump has signed a new law allowing Kiwis better visa access to the United States. 

The signing of the Knowledge Innovators and Worthy Investors Act (which just happens to spell KIWI when abbreviated) has been welcomed by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who returned to office on Thursday after spending time on maternity leave. 

The new law gives New Zealanders access to E1 and E2 visas. It allows Kiwi business people to enter the US multiple times over two years without having to apply each time. Those people also have an option to renew their visa on a rolling basis.

"The KIWI Act will increase trade and investment between the United States and New Zealand and will benefit both our countries," Ms Ardern said in a press statement on Thursday. 

"Assisting New Zealand business opportunities in the US and elsewhere through trade and other regulatory measures is a key pillar of this Government's economic strategy."

The new law is said to have been a long-term goal for New Zealand. Ms Ardern says the US is "critically important to New Zealand's interests" and says the law will "help develop closer economic ties with the US."

President Trump and Prime Minister Ardern appeared to have a rocky relationship at one point. When the two leaders were in the Philippines last November, Mr Trump told a person standing behind Ms Ardern that she "caused a lot of upset in her country" referring to the election. 

A photo taken in Vietnam shows Ms Ardern speaking to Mr Trump and other world leaders as they stood in their pyjamas for the 'NAFTA Pyjama Party' at the APEC conference in 2017.
A photo taken in Vietnam shows Ms Ardern speaking to Mr Trump and other world leaders as they stood in their pyjamas for the 'NAFTA Pyjama Party' at the APEC conference in 2017. Photo credit: Twitter / Jonathan Hanono

After Mr Trump repeated the comment, Ms Ardern reportedly fired back telling Mr Trump: "No one marched when I was elected." 

Official documents released to Newshub show the relationship between the two leaders is cordial.

Mr Trump has written to Ms Ardern twice this year, and in Ms Ardern's press statement, she thanked Mr Trump and the US Congress for supporting Kiwis.  

Earlier this year Mr Trump wrote to Ms Ardern to recognise Waitangi Day on February 6 - the day New Zealand celebrates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

In the letter Mr Trump said the relationship between the US and New Zealand is "strong".

He said more Americans and New Zealanders travel between the two countries than ever before, and trade is at an "all-time high". 

Ms Ardern also received a holiday greetings card from The White House. It was signed not only by Donald Trump but by his wife, First Lady Melania - and son Barron too.

New Zealand officials will now work with the State Department to ensure that the KIWI Act can be implemented as soon as possible, so that New Zealanders can start to apply for the visas.

Newshub. 

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