30 Jan 2012

Second joint Cabinet less ambitious

2:55 pm on 30 January 2012

The New Zealand and Australian governments held their second joint Cabinet meeting in Melbourne on Sunday, but Radio New Zealand's political editor says it lacked the bold decisions made at the first nearly three years ago.

Finance Minister Bill English says the meeting was more about strengthening the strong political and economic ties between the two countries.

In Sydney in 2009, the two governments agreed to set up a joint Army ready-response unit and to start joint trade promotions in South-east Asia. Both moves appear to have run out of steam.

There was an announcement this weekend about closer defence ties, including co-ordinating some military purchases.

But Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman downplayed suggestions that might mean the two countries jointly buying large pieces of military hardware.

Prime Minister John Key says the joint Cabinet meeting in Melbourne was successful.

Mr Key says a lot of progress has been made since the first one and the relationship between the two countries has been strengthened.