New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern on three-day visit to Singapore

Ms Indranee Rajah (left) receiving Ms Jacinda Arden and her fiance Clarke Gayford at Changi Airport on April 18, 2022. PHOTO: MCI

SINGAPORE - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is visiting Singapore on Monday (April 18), her first overseas visit since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is her second visit here as New Zealand prime minister, after the first one in 2019.

As part of her three-day visit, an official welcome ceremony will be held in her honour at the Istana on Tuesday, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Monday.

Ms Ardern will call on President Halimah Yacob and also have a meeting with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Mr Lee will also be hosting Ms Ardern for an official lunch.

Ms Ardern will have a new orchid hybrid named in her honour during her visit.

"Prime Minister Ardern's visit reaffirms the excellent relations between Singapore and New Zealand, underpinned by the Singapore-New Zealand Enhanced Partnership established during Prime Minister Ardern's official visit to Singapore in 2019," said the ministry.

Ms Ardern will be accompanied by her partner Clarke Gayford, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor and senior officials.

After she leaves Singapore on Wednesday, she will be heading to Japan, her government has said.

Ms Ardern had earlier said that she would be making these visits to reconnect with two of New Zealand’s closest Indo-Pacific economic and security partners.

Last week, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise - the government agency helping the country’s businesses grow internationally - said Ms Ardern would be accompanied by a trade mission of business leaders.

These include leaders from industries such as dairy, food and beverage, healthcare, aviation, tourism, supply chain and energy, and represent New Zealand’s commitment to sustainable growth and innovation in South-east Asia.

Among the representatives of New Zealand companies visiting Singapore as part of the trade mission are those from dairy company Fonterra, kiwi fruit marketer Zespri International, Auckland Airport, Christchurch Airport, and New Zealand Hydrogen Council.

During Ms Ardern’s last visit to Singapore in May 2019, she and Mr Lee established the Singapore-New Zealand Enhanced Partnership, which had then been two years in the making.

The partnership was meant to pave the way for the countries to intensify collaboration in the areas of trade and economics, defence and security, science, technology and innovation, and people-to-people links.

Under this partnership, education ministries of both sides, for example, have been exchanging information on their respective systems, from pre-school learning to higher education.

Singapore and New Zealand nationals have also been able to use automated immigration clearance facilities when travelling to each other’s countries since Feb 12, 2019.

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