Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

NZ and Chile have 'profound and fruitful' relationship - president

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key meets with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera in Santiago. Photo / supplied
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key meets with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera in Santiago. Photo / supplied

Christchurch's recovery and management of the Antarctic were among the issues Prime Minister John Key discussed with Chile's President Sebastian Pinera today.

Mr Key went straight to the President 's Palace from his flight from Colombia for the 9pm local time meeting. It was the second time the meeting had been changed because Mr Pinera planned to travel to Caracas tomorrow for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez' funeral, and Mr Key thanked him for finding the time.

After meeting, Mr Pinera said the two countries had a "profound and fruitful" relationship, while Mr Key said Chile was New Zealand's best friend in Latin America.

One of the first issues Mr Pinera asked about was Christchurch's recovery. He said that natural phenomena were another thing the two countries had in common. Chile had a major earthquake in 2010, a year before Christchurch.

He also said New Zealand and Chile would work more closely over the Antarctic, "we can use our forces to turn our countries into a gateway for the great white country."

Both leaders reiterated their wish to ensure that the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations resulted in a "comprehensive and balanced" agreement.

They also agreed to work together on issues ranging from fisheries management in the Pacific Ocean, whale conservation and cooperation in the Antarctic.

On a business level, Mr Pinera raised his wish to increase the use of geothermal energy in Chile.

Chile and New Zealand also signed an agreement to work more closely on agriculture.

On Sunday, Mr Key will visit a Fonterra farm in Chile. He then heads off on the last leg of his trip to Brazil.

- NZ Herald

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