Australia

Climate and poverty key for Jacinda Ardern

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Jacinda Ardern's whirlwind trip to Australia is underway with the New Zealand prime minister in Melbourne to talk about social issues.

Climate change and childhood poverty are the two areas where New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern plans to make her mark.

During a whirlwind visit to Melbourne, the prime minister told a 2000-strong crowd those were the policies she wanted to ensure lasted long after she finished her tenure as prime minister.

"Child poverty and climate change those are the two areas where I'd love to ensure what we do lasts," Ms Ardern said at Melbourne Town Hall on Thursday night.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern  with partner Clarke Gayford, Governor of Victoria Linda Dessa and Anthony Howard at Melbourne's Government House.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with partner Clarke Gayford, Governor of Victoria Linda Dessa and Anthony Howard at Melbourne's Government House.
AAP

She was asked what it would take to get meaningful global action on climate change.

"I think a visit to the Pacific Islands might do it. I think we actually just do need to humanise this," she said.

"If you visit Kiribati or Tuvalu, it is real. This is not a hypothetical. The changes they're seeing in their natural environment is happening now," she said.

Ms Ardern addressed her response to the Christchurch mosque shootings in March, where 51 people were killed.

"It's instinctive when your mourning with someone, to reach out in that way. It just felt to me like a human response but perhaps I'd add another layer to that, it's a Kiwi response."

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Ardern talks good government in Melbourne
Ardern talks good government in Melbourne

But she said she was saddened at how surprised some were at her response.

"I was saddened by it. It shouldn't have been noteworthy," Ms Ardern said.

The comments come after a speech on the good government where she spoke about the "wellbeing" budget and what changes were being made in New Zealand.

Ms Ardern also met with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews in Melbourne on Thursday to canvass social issues, after attending a business lunch.

But she's also made time for a few business meetings.

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"I have also met with a group of investors over lunch and will be holding a business breakfast tomorrow," Ms Ardern added.

The 38-year-old leader and her partner Clarke Gayford made their first public appearance with a visit to Governor Linda Dessau earlier in the day.

But the highlight of her visit will likely be a meeting with her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison on Friday.

Jacinda Ardern, her partner Clarke Gayford, and their child Neve last month.
Jacinda Ardern, her partner Clarke Gayford, and their child Neve last month.
Getty

"Last time I saw Jacinda was under the most difficult of circumstances when we were in Christchurch for the memorial service which was a heart-wrenching exercise," the Australian leader told reporters.

Mr Morrison has since moved initiatives at the G20 as part of the "Christchurch call" to send a message that social media and internet platforms "can't be weaponised by terrorists".

Friday's meeting will take place in Melbourne.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is seen delivering a speech titled '"Why Does Good Government Matter?" at Melbourne Town Hall, Melbourne, on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (AAP Image/David Crosling) NO ARCHIVING
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
AAP

Ms Ardern became Prime Minister of New Zealand in 2017 and gained worldwide acclaim for her compassionate leadership in the aftermath of the Christchurch shooting in March which left 51 dead and dozens injured.

Her government's latest "Wellbeing Budget" measured public wellbeing alongside economic figures and allocated billions of dollars of spending on tackling suicide rates, child poverty, homelessness and domestic violence.

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