Prime Minister meets Head of Government of New Zealand, Chris Hipkins


2023 07 11


On Tuesday, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė received the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Chris Hipkins, at the Office of the Government. During the meeting, the Heads of Government discussed the development of bilateral relations between Lithuania and New Zealand, cooperation in preserving the rules-based world order, and support for Ukraine, which has been attacked by Russia.

“The outcome of Russia’s war against Ukraine will not only determine the security of our region, but the response of democracies will also set boundaries for authoritarian regimes on any continent. The use of military force, disregard for international law, and violation of state sovereignty have no place in a world based on common rules. Furthermore, Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific security are interconnected, and any imbalance in one inevitably affects the other, regardless of the distance between us,” said Prime Minister Šimonytė.

Lithuania’s support for Ukraine stems not only from direct security interests but also from historical experience and the active solidarity of Lithuanian citizens with the country defending itself against Russia’s imperial war, added the Prime Minister.

During the meeting, the Prime Ministers discussed regional security and the impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine on the global economy.

The recent success in reducing EU countries’ reliance on Russian energy resources demonstrated that the expectation of economic integration between authoritarian regimes and democracies, supposedly creating conditions for peaceful coexistence, has not been fulfilled and has proven to be dangerous for democracies in the long run, stated Prime Minister Šimonytė.

Ensuring energy security, resilience, and diversifying trade relations are among the most important tasks that democracies can and must collaborate on, noted the parties.

Bilateral relations between Lithuania and New Zealand were also discussed. The trade turnover between the two countries has significantly increased in recent years and still holds great potential for further growth.

“Lithuania considers New Zealand a like-minded partner in the Indo-Pacific region, and we believe in the mutual benefits that closer bilateral relations, increased trade, and people-to-people contacts can bring,” said Ms. Šimonytė.

The Prime Minister emphasized that Lithuania’s focus on the Indo-Pacific was affirmed by the Strategic Guidelines for the region, which were approved by the Government in July.

Lithuania is interested in developing sustainable economic relations that are not dependent on unilateral, politically motivated, and unpredictable decisions characteristic of non-democratic regimes. The Prime Minister also stressed the importance of working together to uphold the international order based on international law.

The parties also discussed the recently signed EU-New Zealand trade agreement, for which Prime Minister Hipkins thanked Lithuania for its support.

According to Prime Minister Šimonytė, this agreement is mutually beneficial and welcomed, and it is crucial to maximize its opportunities.