19 Mar 2018

Ardern to raise human rights issues with Indonesia's President

7:24 pm on 19 March 2018

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed Indonesia President Joko Widodo and thanked him for visiting New Zealand, saying there was "huge potential" for a stronger economic relationship with Indonesia.

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Indonesia President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Photo: Pool / Marty Melville

In her opening remarks at the start of her formal bilateral meeting with Mr Widodo, Ms Ardern said it was significant for New Zealand to host Mr Widodo and noted the last visit from a President of Indonesia was in 2005.

"We are very, very pleased that you found time to talk with us about the future relationship between New Zealand and Indonesia."

Ms Ardern thanked Indonesia for the role it had played as New Zealand's partner nation in Asean, "and also the opportunity we have as we increase the status of our relationship which we see as an extremely welcome view."

"As we briefly discussed at lunch there is huge potential between us from an economic perspective. But today what I hope we will have a chance to do is talk about how we can amplify that potential, how we can take that to the next step," Ms Ardern said.

She also hoped for Mr Widodo's insight on regional issues.

Media were told to leave the room just as Mr Widodo began his opening remarks, through a translator. He said he was "fulfilling his pledge" to visit.

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo (centre right) meets with Jacinda Ardern (centre left) during a bilateral meeting at Parliament. Photo: Pool / Marty Melville

Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark also attended the meeting in the Beehive.

Ms Ardern has promised to raise specific human rights concerns in her bilateral meeting.

She said as well as discussing trade there were certain matters she would be raising.

"They include for instance issues of freedom of speech and access of foreign media in the Papua region and also the rights of LGBTIQ individuals in Indonesia and talk of a criminal code applying to them."

President Widodo received a 21-gun salute at Government House in Wellington this morning, before laying a wreath at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.

He was met by a lone protester repeatedly yelling "Free West Papua".

Later, in a short address before the official state lunch with Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, Mr Widodo said he had been delighted to learn how much New Zealanders love one of Indonesia's key exports.

"With my background as a businessman when I see how much New Zealand people like coffee I immediately think Indonesia has to export more coffee to New Zealand.

"Indonesia is one of the top coffee producers in the world we have so many choices - starting with Bali coffee, Sumatra coffee, Java coffee ... each of these coffees have a unique taste."

Mr Widodo joked coffee diplomacy may come to define bilateral relations between New Zealand and also poked fun at another Kiwi phenomenon, saying he was very happy to visit the this "beautiful country" with all its sheep.

National Party leader Simon Bridges also met President Widodo this afternoon, and said it was a privilege to welcome him to New Zealand.

At the Beehive meeting, Mr Widodo congratulated Mr Bridges on his recent appointment as party leader.

Through a translator, he said he hoped relations would grow further based on mutual trust and benefit.

He then applauded New Zealand's support of Indonesia's territorial integrity.

The media were then ushered out of the room as Simon Bridges started his response.