Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison jets in for first official visit

Morrison inspects troops
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison inspects the troops at Government House in Auckland, on his first official visit to New Zealand. (Photo: Alden Williams/Stuff)

22 February 2019

Stacey Kirk – Stuff

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has jetted into Auckland on Friday, for high-level talks with Jacinda Ardern.

Morrison inspected the New Zealand troops, before he and Ardern entered Government House to share lunch before beginning their formal talks.

While the leaders got down to business, Morrison’s wife Jenny Morrison would be spending the day at Auckland Zoo with Ardern’s partner Clarke Gayford. Baby Neve would not be in attendance.

A fleeting visit lasting less than a day, Morrison is forgoing the usual weekend retreat to New Zealand enjoyed by previous Australian Prime Ministers. The whistle-stop tour is likely reflective of his own precarious position in Canberra; while a recent poll had the gap close between the more popular Labor Party, in Opposition, and Morrison’s Liberal Party, the Liberals were still on track to lose the next election.

Morrison powhiri Auckland Feb 2019

The full powhiri and military welcome mat was laid out for visiting Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday. (Photo: Alden Williams/Stuff)

It’s understood Ardern intends on being particularly forceful when it comes to expressing New Zealand’s view over Australia’s policy of detainment and deportation, particularly of dual New Zealand nationals who had never set foot in this country. It was unlikely to result in any change however, but both leaders could potentially walk away from an exchange with positive reviews on the issue.

During his day-long visit, Morrison would also meet with Opposition leader Simon Bridges, lay a wreath at the Auckland War Memorial and take part in a business roundtable discussion.

[Read the Stuff article].

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