New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has highlighted potential for strengthened ties with Papua New Guinea, emphasising the need for enhanced engagement and structured partnerships, as outlined ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Tonga.

He has signaled a clear intent to bolster ties between the two nations through strategic engagements and collaborative endeavours.

Addressing inquiries about the perceived disparity in the level of structuring seen in New Zealand’s relations with PNG compared to Australia’s more organized engagements, Luxon articulated a vision for deeper and more structured interactions that prioritise mutual cooperation and partnership.

“You’ve already seen our deputy Prime Minister come through since we formed the new Government and it is important for me to make initial connections with Prime Minister Marape on this trip as well,” he said.

“We are open for deeper engagements and more structural engagements if that’s what is needed between the two countries and that’s what the statement of agreement on partnership we want to sign will detail in Tonga.”

Luxon’s proactive approach to fostering stronger bilateral relations was further substantiated by his announcement of forthcoming agreements set to be formalised at the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Tonga among other meetings.

He also emphasised the significance of these agreements as tangible demonstrations of the commitment to deepen engagements between New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

In outlining his vision for enhanced partnerships, Luxon expressed a resolute commitment to expanding and structuring engagements between New Zealand and PNG.

“We are very open for deeper engagements and more structural engagements if that’s what is needed between the two countries,” signaling a readiness to explore avenues for collaboration that align with the shared interests and aspirations of both nations.

PNG Prime Minister James Marape and PM Luxon are set to bolster their nations’ partnership with plans to sign an enhanced statement of partnership, aiming to solidify their commitment to cooperation.

“Looking forward to meeting him later on in the year when we share a space in the Pacific Island Forum, APEC meetings and the Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings,” Marape said.

“New Zealand and PNG always look out for each other, not physically only but more importantly in areas where could land each other at hand and I want to place on record PNG’s appreciation my brother Prime Minister.

“Our meeting today, though short it is but more importantly as a good punctuation mark in our own shared stories that the future is ahead where we will not take each other for granted but we consolidate through the past with consolidated meetings and construct a shared future that is mutually beneficial for both nations.

“Later on, in PIF we will construct our own PNG New Zealand foreign relations agreements that is specific to give respect to PNG Zealand relationship under his watch and my watch we will construct a shared relations going forward into the future.”

Luxon also underlined the value of the relationship New Zealand holds with PNG.

He said he wants to hang out more with Papua New Guinea to bolster the relationship and partnership forward.

“As I said before PNG New Guinea’s is such a critical relation, it is relationship that matters, as important to me, on my way through to be able to stop here and spend some time to talk through our bilateral issues as well as regional issues we face but also you already heard, our foreign minister Winston Peters was here to talk through this issue.

“We want to deepen our relationship and partnership that’s why we hope at PIF we will be able to sign a partnership, a renewed statement there how our two countries will work together…we need to expand and double our amount of exports.

“I look forward to hang out more with you. Thank you so much for your insights,” he told his PNG counterpart.