21 Jan 2019

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to meet embattled British leader Theresa May ahead of summit

6:44 am on 21 January 2019

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will meet with her British counterpart Theresa May tonight at Number 10 Downing Street.

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

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

Ms Ardern arrived in London yesterday ahead of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

Ms Ardern said the meeting would focus on pushing for certainty that New Zealand would be left no worse off in respect of trade following the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union.

The meeting comes only days after Mrs May survived a no-confidence vote after her Brexit deal was comprehensively rejected in Parliament.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson will meet Ms Ardern in Davos at the economic forum, where they will hold a number of bilateral meetings, and Ms Ardern will take part in a panel focused on mental health alongside Prince William.

Ms Ardern finishes her trip in Brussels, where the focus will be progressing a free trade agreement with Europe.

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

"I will be using my engagements to enhance New Zealand's profile as a like-minded 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 the 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.

Along with Davos, Mr Robertson 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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