Christopher Luxon and PNG prime minister James Marape recently met for talks in Papua New Guinea, discussing a potential partnership that could increase the number of short-term RSE horticultural workers coming to New Zealand. Luxon, who was en route to Japan with a business delegation, made a stopover in PNG to meet with Marape.

During their discussions, the two leaders talked about regional issues, the upcoming signing of a new partnership agreement between the countries, and the expansion of the RSE worker programme. Luxon expressed the need to double the number of RSE workers in New Zealand from 19,000 to 38,000 over time, emphasizing the importance of providing the right accommodations and investments for these workers.

Marape shared his hope that the workers from PNG would have the opportunity to earn qualifications while in New Zealand. Both leaders expressed a mutual desire to increase exports and collaborate more on economic matters. Luxon also mentioned New Zealand’s assistance in response to a recent massive landslide in PNG’s Enga province, where New Zealand Defence Forces were involved in distributing supplies.

Luxon’s visit was well-received by Marape, who highlighted the longstanding relationship between the two countries and expressed a desire to strengthen their partnership further. The leaders are planning to continue their discussions at the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in Tonga.

In addition to his visit to PNG, Luxon is scheduled to travel to Japan to meet with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and promote economic opportunities for New Zealand companies. Despite a delay in his travel plans due to an issue with the aircraft, Luxon remains optimistic about the potential for economic growth and cooperation between New Zealand and Japan.

As Luxon continues his diplomatic efforts in the Pacific region and beyond, the importance of building strong partnerships and supporting neighboring countries like PNG remains a key focus for New Zealand’s leadership. Luxon’s commitment to deepening international relationships and exploring economic opportunities reflects a proactive approach to foreign affairs and trade in the region.