15. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the formal engagements with the New Zealand Minister for Foreign Affairs Winston Peters that have taken place recently; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11496/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I am glad to report that Ireland-New Zealand bilateral relations have never been closer, and that 2017 saw an unprecedented amount of high-level contact between our two countries, culminating in the very successful State Visit there by President Higgins last October. I am pleased to confirm that Ireland will open a resident diplomatic mission in Wellington, New Zealand in the coming months, and that New Zealand also plans to open an Embassy in Dublin in the near future. These decisions reflect the strong and friendly links between our states. In the interim, our Embassy in Australia is also accredited to New Zealand.

Mr. Winston Peters assumed the position of New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs late last October and the Irish Ambassador attended a reception hosted by him in early February, on the eve of New Zealand’s Waitangi Day celebrations. The Ambassador also had the opportunity to speak briefly to Ms. Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, on that occasion.