Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 19:43 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 19:43 | SYDNEY

Trans-Tasman: Mates take tea on the verandah


Fergus Hanson


10 December 2007 13:37

As the 2007 Lowy Poll suggested, Australia looms much larger for New Zealand than the other way around. While Australia is New Zealand’s largest export destination, New Zealand is only Australia’s sixth most important trading relationship, with the New Zealand economy less that 14 per cent the size of Australia’s. So it was no wonder it was Prime Minister Clark (someone only 38 per cent of Australians know leads New Zealand) who had to come to Mr Rudd’s home in Brisbane and share a cuppa if she wanted to be the first world leader to meet him before he left for climate talks in Bali.

Despite differences in size, there is potential to grow the already very close relationship across the Tasman. Our poll showed a majority in both countries were content with our close level of economic integration, with a sizeable minority of New Zealanders (31 per cent) saying integration has not gone far enough. There has also been a sharp increase in the number of New Zealanders supporting a common currency (up from 29 per cent to 49 per cent between 2000 and 2007). Australians are split on the issue, with 41 per cent supporting a common currency and 42 per cent opposed. And Australia still has room for the Kiwis in our Senate should they chose to join the Federation.

In the Pacific, the two Labor governments should find still more room for cooperation. As Mr Rudd foreshadowed, this will be critical if his plans for revived engagement with the region are to be a success.