Bishop looking to rebuild friendship with NZ’s new PM


bishoppForeign Minister Julie Bishop faces an awkward discussion with New Zealand’s prime minister-elect Jacinda Ardern, after suggesting two months ago it could be difficult to trust her party.

“Should there be a change of government, I would find it very hard to build trust with those involved in allegations designed to undermine the Government of Australia,” Ms Bishop said.New Zealand Labour will now form a minority government after nine years in opposition

Diplomats on both sides of the Tasman were shocked by the strength of the Foreign Minister’s outburst at the time.

But officials have played down the dispute since then, arguing the bilateral relationship is strong and broad enough to bear the strain.

Still, they predict both governments will want to move quickly to restore the relationship now Labour has won power.

The Foreign Minister has congratulated Ms Ardern and said the two countries would continue their strong diplomatic relationship.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has spoken with Ms Ardern and said the two leaders agreed to meet as soon as possible.

At the time of the spat, Ms Ardern admitted it was unacceptable for Labour MP Chris Hipkins to ask questions Mr Joyce’s citizenship in Parliament and said it should not have happened.

But she said Ms Bishop had “chosen to make false claims about the New Zealand Labour Party”.

“I greatly value New Zealand’s relationship with the Australian Government,” Ms Ardern said.

“I will not let false claims stand in the way of that relationship.”