Adam O’Sullivan, Melbourne Cri/Stuff
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia.
The first full day of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s trip to Australia begins today, with business meetings, a meeting with the Victorian Prime Minister and some tasty treats, courtesy of an NZTE ‘Made with Care’ dinner “prepared by a famous Kiwi chef.
Today’s big political meeting is with Victoria’s Labor Premier, Daniel Andrews. Sometimes nicknamed “Disaster Dan” for his use of emergency powers to declare Victoria a “state of disaster” Plagued by Covid-19 in early 2021, he was a leader whose popularity rose and fell during the pandemic.
Andrews, who is up for re-election later this year, won 59% of the vote in a Roy Morgan snap poll yesterday. He has been Premier of Victoria since 2014.
The New Zealand delegation spent the early part of Monday night at a business event hosted by Global Victoria, the tourism and investment arm of the Victorian government, creating business opportunities.
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Andrews was reportedly one of Australia’s top political leaders with whom Ardern stayed in touch during the lockdown phase of the pandemic.
Ardern will start the day at an ANZ Business Breakfast hosted by ANZ New Zealand CEO Antonia Watson. The breakfast theme is sustainability, and discussions will focus on ‘natural capital’, which is an emerging asset class for investors concerned about climate change.
After breakfast, Ardern will meet Andrews and then open a new collaboration at the Monash Sustainability Center – an agreement between the center and various New Zealand brands.
A key part of the business part of the trip is promoting the food and beverage industry in New Zealand. To that end, in the evening, Ardern will attend and speak at a New Zealand foodie event, Made with Care, which is a marketing initiative of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. With dishes prepared by two-hatted Kiwi chef Peter Gunn.
The government has identified food and drink as a key growth sector for New Zealand.
Tuesday will mark the end of the Victorian leg of Ardern’s trip to Australia. She opened up about her trip to the MCG yesterday.