Two of the bright young stars of world politics have met, with Jacinda Ardern inviting her Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau to New Zealand and suggesting the two countries have much to learn from each other.
Ardern and Trudeau, both liberal politicians in their first terms as prime minister, met on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in the Philippines.
Ardern quipped that the bilateral talks were a good chance to build on the “groundbreaking Skype conversation” the pair had after Ardern was appointed as prime minister.
"I certainly think a lot of the things we are focused on, approaching as a new Government are things you have also been dealing with."
Trudeau said the two countries shared a number of common values, including a progressive trade agenda, climate change, and "developing a feminist international development policy".
Focus on indigenous issues
With Canada’s treatment of its indigenous First Nations peoples described by Trudeau as a legacy of “humiliation, neglect and abuse” at a United Nations assembly earlier this year, he said he was keen to learn from New Zealand’s approach.
"The one I've been very impressed with - and obviously we have a lot of work to do - is indigenous issues. You have different but similar challenges and approaches, and I think we can learn a lot from each other."
Ardern also took the chance to extend Trudeau an invitation to visit New Zealand, saying: “I’m going to put you in the awkward position of inviting you to New Zealand in front of the media so it’s on public record now, and yes you should feel bound by that.”
Ardern later told media she had specifically invited Trudeau to visit Antarctica and see New Zealand’s work on climate change issues there.
“We have a shared interest in climate change issues, I think it would be a good opportunity for him to see the work that New Zealand is doing in Antarctica in the climate change space.”
"I wouldn’t want anyone to be under any illusion that somehow [Canada] advocated for their [issues] more strongly than ours - we pushed hard, but we pushed hard at the negotiating table.”
Ardern said she had not raised the issue of Canada’s no-show at a TPP leaders’ meeting which had briefly threatened to sink the deal.
However, with Canadian media reporting the country had “won” a stand-off with the other countries over improving the deal, Ardern was quick to suggest that was not the case.
“What I would say is each of us find ways to work through our issues. I wouldn’t want anyone to be under any illusion that somehow they advocated for theirs more strongly than ours - we pushed hard, but we pushed hard at the negotiating table.”
Asked about her relationship with Trudeau, Ardern said the pair had much in common.
“Whenever anyone is in politics, you automatically have a bit of common ground, a bit of an understanding of what life in your job is like, so that's always a good starting point.
“It does add a bit of an extra layer if you’re new and if you’re perhaps on the younger end of the spectrum.”
Talks between the pair had covered areas like poverty, youth suicide and indigenous issues, she said.