Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

Dutch royals meet with Prime Minister John Key and talk trade

Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy with King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands at Government House. On the right is Sir David Gascoigne, Dame Patsy's husband. Photo / Pool
Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy with King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands at Government House. On the right is Sir David Gascoigne, Dame Patsy's husband. Photo / Pool

Royalty came to Parliament today when King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands met with Prime Minister John Key and Opposition leader Andrew Little.

The Dutch royals arrived shortly before Key, who then introduced key members of his staff including Foreign Minister Murray McCully and chief of staff Wayne Eagleson.

Media, including a large Dutch contingent, were let inside for a brief photo opportunity.

Key sat between the royal couple and asked after Mark Rutte, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, and apologised for the rain that has not let up all day in Wellington.

Media were then ushered out. Afterwards, Key said trade was high on the agenda with the Netherlands a strong supporter of a New Zealand-European Union free trade agreement.

The Netherlands is New Zealand's fourth largest trading partner in the EU, and Fonterra has its European headquarters in Amsterdam.

"They along with the Germans are going to be quite influential in terms of New Zealand completing that FTA. Because I think while their farmers might be supportive, we're likely to run into resistance potentially, particularly from French farmers are the likes."

Earlier today, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima were given a ceremonial welcome at Government House in Wellington, before laying a wreath at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park and visiting the Great War exhibition.

This afternoon they visited Park Road Post Production, the Wellington company that helped make the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies.

Built in 2002 by Sir Peter Jackson and part of the Weta Group of companies, Park Road includes digital daily services, off-line edit suites, sound design, sound mixing and VFX.
A 51-strong business and trade delegation is accompanying the King and Queen.

The visit is the first in an official capacity by the royals - they honeymooned here in 2002. About 150,000 thousand people of Dutch descent live in New Zealand.

- NZ Herald

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