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Our relationship with Australia

Deeply integrated economies, common security and foreign policy interests, shared history, values and institutions, personal connections, geographical proximity and a healthy sporting rivalry combine to make New Zealand’s relationship with Australia our closest and most significant. We work together in virtually every area of government.

New Zealand and Australia share a longstanding and close political relationship. Each year our Prime Ministers hold formal talks called the Australia New Zealand Leadership Meeting (ANZLM). Beyond these formal talks, our Prime Ministers and Ministers are in regular contact through a substantial annual programme of high-level meetings, other discussions in the margins of international and regional engagements, and phone calls. In recognition of the close relationship between our countries and shared objectives, New Zealand ministers are also invited to attend some Australian Ministerial Council(external link) meetings of Australian state and federal Ministers.

Our Parliamentary committees, political parties, and Government agencies also have strong connections. The Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG)(external link) was established in 2001 by Australian and New Zealand national and state/territory-level governments, in partnership with universities and business schools, to develop strong links between our respective public sectors.

Our countries collaborate on diverse foreign policy, security, and trade issues, including in international forums such as the United Nations and World Trade Organisation.

Priority areas for our two countries to work together are identified in the Relationship Roadmap to 2035(external link), agreed in 2023 and reconfirmed in 2024.

Defence and security

Since fighting side by side as 'ANZACs' in the Gallipoli campaign of World War I, Australia and New Zealand have a long-standing defence and security relationship. Australia is New Zealand’s only formal defence ally.

Signed in 1951, the ANZUS Treaty continues to underpin the strategic relationship between our two countries and formalises the commitments that we have to each other as allies. In more recent times our security relationship has been articulated in the Joint Ministerial Statement on Closer Defence Relations (CDR(external link)) 1991, which was most recently refreshed in 2018. The CDR spans policy, intelligence and security, logistics, and science and technology agreements and arrangements.

Inaugural Australia-New Zealand Foreign and Defence Ministerial Consultations (ANZMIN 2+2) were held in 2024. Ministers welcomed the establishment of the 2+2 mechanism as a step to further strengthen the Australia-New Zealand alliance to address challenges in close partnership.

The Defence Ministers meet annually and there's significant operational collaboration between our two forces. In recent times there have been joint operations in Timor-Leste, Bougainville, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Iraq. In addition to defence cooperation both countries are members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing partnership and work closely across the breadth of security issues, including on issues such as counterterrorism, cyber security and trans-national organised crime.

Trade and investment

Australia is New Zealand’s most important economic partner. Australia is one of our largest export destinations, export markets and sources of foreign investment.

New Zealand and Australia's economic relationship is underpinned by the Australia and New Zealand Closer Economic Relations (CER) - recognised as the world's most comprehensive, effective and mutually compatible free trade agreement.

For 20 years, New Zealand and Australia have also committed to a process called the Single Economic Market (SEM), designed to create a seamless trans-Tasman business environment.

In addition to CER, we have also negotiated several other regional trade agreements that include Australia:

New Zealand and Australian Trade Ministers hold bilateral consultations annually. Inaugural joint Finance and Climate Ministers meeting was held in 2023 and is expected to be held annually to align on meeting common challenges regarding transition to net zero economies.

The latest information about New Zealand's trade profile with Australia is available on the New Zealand Trade Dashboard(external link).

Development cooperation and sustainability

New Zealand and Australia work closely together on aid and development initiatives, particularly in the Pacific and South East Asia regions.

As long-term development partners in the Pacific, our goal is to enhance coordination with Australia in support of Pacific priorities. We share responsibility with Australia to improve the quality of aid delivery in the region, and we jointly focus on aid coordination, transparent donor practices and good governance.

People and culture

Our relationship with Australia reflects the deep historical and cultural ties, family links, and friendships that have shaped a strong sense of kinship, shared values, and a similar worldview. Hundreds of thousands of people cross the Tasman each year as tourists, for business purposes, or to visit friends and family and there are substantial resident populations of New Zealanders and Australians living in each country.

New Zealanders and Australians can travel, live and work in either country under the terms of the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement and the Australia New Zealand Social Security Agreement. These agreements are foundational to our relationship and provide benefits to our economies and the well-being of our people.

Over one million people in Australia were born in New Zealand or have at least one New Zealand born parent. New Zealanders make up one of the largest groups of overseas born residents in Australia and many Australians make their home in New Zealand.

From 1 July 2023, New Zealanders living in Australia for four or more years can apply for citizenship. Read more about the direct pathway to citizenship(external link).

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