Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to visit Queenstown for talks with Jacinda Ardern

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny will arrive in Queenstown on Sunday, May 30, to meet with Jacinda Ardern. 

"I'm looking forward to welcoming Prime Minister Morrison back to New Zealand following a difficult year for both our countries through the pandemic," Ardern said on Monday as she shared the plans. 

"Our relationship with Australia is our closest and most important and this has never been more evident than in these trying times for the world."

Morrison's visit to New Zealand will be his first since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The last time the pair shared a podium was in February 2020 in Sydney, where Ardern delivered a stern message to Australia about deportations.  

Morrison said in a statement he looked forward to the trip and described it as "fitting" that his first visit overseas was to New Zealand.

"Australia and New Zealand are family - and we share deep historical bonds of friendship, trust and the ANZAC spirit," Morrison said.

"Both Australia and New Zealand have been world leaders in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this visit is a great illustration of the Trans-Tasman Safe Travel Zone in action.

"We have many shared challenges to discuss. We are key partners in delivering COVID-19 vaccines to our Pacific neighbours, we share common goals and values for the Indo-Pacific region, and we are major trading partners."

Ardern said her discussions with Morrison in Queenstown will centre on challenges both nations face, including COVID-19 and the recovery of tourism, as well as working together on key regional and security issues. 

Ardern said the annual Australia-New Zealand Leaders' Meeting - which will be held over two days - will be a good opportunity to celebrate the resumption of two-way quarantine free travel and "welcome our trans-Tasman cousins back to Aotearoa".

"An in-person leaders' meeting reflects a significant achievement for both our countries and is highly unusual in the COVID-19 context. It's a significant achievement to be able to host Prime Minister Morrison and Mrs Morrison on our shores."

The two leaders will attend a Highlanders game. They will also engage with Australian and New Zealand business, tourism, and community leaders and lay a wreath at the Arrowtown War Memorial.

Last month, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne travelled to New Zealand to meet Ardern and Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta.  

Ardern said in a pre-Budget speech last week that she plans to visit several Australian states in July, leading a trade and promotional delegation. 

"I will be looking to further strengthen business ties with our trans-Tasman partners."

Ardern also plans to lead delegations into Europe, the United States, China and the wider Asia-Pacific, when our key trading partners look to re-open their borders.

Trade Minister Damien O'Connor will next month travel to London and Brussels to progress negotiations for New Zealand's free trade agreements with the UK and EU.