Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta says she hopes New Zealand and America can continue its “warm relationship” under Joe Biden’s administration.
Biden, 77, crossed 270 Electoral College votes with a win in Pennsylvania about 5.25am on Sunday (NZT), defeating Donald Trump after more than three days of uncertainty.
In a press conference in Auckland on Sunday morning, Mahuta said she wanted to recognise and congratulate both Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris, the first Black woman and person of South Asian descent to serve in the nation’s second-highest office.
Mahuta, who was sworn in as Foreign Affairs Minister on Friday, said New Zealand had enjoyed a “warm relationship” with Biden when he was vice president to Barack Obama, and visited the country in 2016.
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Mahuta, the first woman in New Zealand to hold the Foreign Affairs portfolio, also made a special mention of Harris, the first woman-of-colour vice president, saying she will bring “some very unique attributes” to their leadership.
She said she anticipated there would be “continued warm conversations” between New Zealand and the US in areas of common interest, such as Covid-19, trade, and the issue of global economic recovery.
“We enjoy our relationship with them.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier congratulated Biden and Harris on their victory, saying Biden was a “close friend of New Zealand” during his vice presidency.
“New Zealand will continue to work side-by-side with the United States on the issues that matter to both of us, including the prosperity, security, and sustainability in the Indo-Pacific and Pacific Island regions.
Ardern said Biden’s campaign showed the “shared interests we have” in addressing global challenges like Covid-19 and climate change.
“There are many challenges in front of the international community right now, the message of unity from Joe Biden positions us well to take those challenges on.”