17 Jan 2019

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern heading to Europe with a focus on trade

6:19 pm on 17 January 2019

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern heads to London this weekend where she's expected to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May in the wake of her surviving a no-confidence vote.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern outside 10 Downing Street, before a bilateral meeting.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa in the UK last year. Photo: AFP

While there Ms Ardern will push for certainty that New Zealand will be left no worse off in respect of trade following the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union (EU).

She will then head to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, along with the Finance Minister Grant Robertson, where the focus will be progressing a free trade agreement with Europe.

Ms Ardern will take part in a number of bilateral meetings and panels, including one focused on mental health with Prince William.

The prime minister will then head to Brussels for high-level meetings.

"My visit to the UK is an opportunity to underline New Zealand's position as a natural and long-standing partner for the country as it redefines its global role post-Brexit," Ms Ardern said.

In Brussels she will have meetings with President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

"I will be using my engagements to enhance New Zealand's profile as a likeminded partner to the EU across a wide range of issues, including climate change, social policy, trade and our commitment to the rules-based system,'' she said.

"There is still much progress to make in trade talks with our European partners, so a key focus of this whole trip is to speak to European Commission and individual country leaders to shore up support for our ongoing negotiations and ensure New Zealand exporters achieve a great deal."

At the World Economic Forum in Davos the prime minister will be promoting the government's approach to inclusive growth through the Wellbeing Agenda, and the delivery of the world's first wellbeing budget in May this year.

Finance Minister, Grant Robertson, speaks to media about the Half Yearly Economic and Fiscal Update.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson will join Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the World Economic Forum. Photo: reb

Mr Robertson will accompany the prime minister to Davos and he will also visit Belgium and the United Kingdom for economic and business engagements.

"This is a very timely trip given the dynamic global economic situation," Mr Robertson said.

"While the New Zealand economy continues its stable growth, as international risks mount we must continue to engage with global partners so we are in the best position to address any issues.

"This visit is an opportunity to build on our relationships in Europe, including in advancing our negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union."

In London, he will deliver a speech at the London School of Economics (LSE) on the Wellbeing Budget.

The prime minister's trip means she will miss Rātana celebrations - deputy prime minister Winston Peters will attend in her absence.

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