The issues for the trans-Tasman agenda

Jacinda Ardern and Scott Morrison are set to hold bilateral talks this weekend in New Zealand.
Jacinda Ardern and Scott Morrison are set to hold bilateral talks this weekend in New Zealand.



Australia and New Zealand are near the top of the class for their response to the deadly virus. But both countries have had difficulty rolling out the vaccine and will share notes. NZ is keen to smoothen links on contact tracing and technologies to keep the trans-Tasman bubble up and running, now that it's finally been opened.


The two countries have committed to rolling out the vaccine across the Pacific, a mighty logistical challenge but crucial for the developing economies of the region. The contested election result in Samoa provides a chance for a united diplomatic effort, while an eye will be cast to the Fiji poll next year.


Engaging with China remains a key diplomatic issue for both Australia and NZ. Both trans-Tasman nations are utterly trade dependent on China, but want Beijing to change its behaviour in many ways: on human rights abuses in Xinjiang and the democratic rollback in Hong Kong, and its growing influence in the South China Sea and the Pacific.


* NZ is hosting APEC this year, though virtually, putting Kiwi diplomacy in the spotlight.

* Deportations of Australian citizens to NZ will be raised by NZ and dismissed by Scott Morrison.

* Human rights advocates are determined to put humanitarian issues in the spotlight, petitioning Australia to accept NZ's long-standing offer to house 150 refugees from Australia's offshore detention regime.

* It remains to be seen whether NZ will ask Australia to take home the Christchurch Mosques terrorist, Grafton-raised man Brenton Tarrant, a proposal that is popular amongst Kiwis. Tarrant is serving a term of life imprisonment in an Auckland jail.

Australian Associated Press