Chris Hipkins delays chatting with Kiri Allan as he jets off to Europe for trade talks, NATO meeting

  • 04/07/2023

Chris Hipkins is delaying chatting with Kiri Allan until he's back from Europe for trade talks and a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) meeting. 

The Prime Minister will be joined by Trade Minister Damien O'Connor as they sign a long-awaited deal with the EU that will deliver immediate tariff savings of about $100 million per year.

"I said trade would be a key focus for me this year and securing this deal will be a major boost for our economy," Hipkins said in a statement.

"Modelling suggests exports to the European Union will increase by up to $1.8 billion per annum and add up to $1.4 billion to New Zealand's GDP per year once fully implemented.

"This is an important milestone towards entry into force of this high-quality and historic free trade agreement."

Hipkins will also attend a NATO leaders summit, where the Russia-Ukraine war will be the major topic of conversation. 

He said attending demonstrates the importance of New Zealand's relationship with the alliance. 

"Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine fundamentally undermines the international rules-based system that is so important to New Zealand. It has had significant impacts on the global economy, as well as New Zealand's economic recovery," Hipkins said. 

"The summit in Vilnius gives New Zealand the opportunity to contribute our perspective to leaders' discussions on these matters of global importance."

Hipkins heads to Europe on Friday after facing more questions on Monday about Allan's management style, with the East Coast MP taking more time off following recent allegations