Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and New Zealand
Prime Minister John Key meet locals in Arrowtown today.
(Photo by Teaukura Moetaua/Getty Images)
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has labelled
Queenstown a "happy town" on her inaugural visit to the resort
this weekend as she and her New Zealand counterpart John Key
have packed greeting hundreds of interested locals between
Ms Gillard arrived yesterday afternoon on an Australian
Airforce plane and has since held the Cricket World Cup,
placed a wreath at Queenstown's war memorial and fitted in a
spot of shopping in Arrowtown.
Among discussions between the two prime ministers they were
able to announce today that New Zealand will take 150 boat
people a year who have been approved as refugees by
Australian authorities in offshore processing.
The figure will be part of 750 refugees New Zealand takes a
year as part of its commitment to the United Nations High
Commission for Refugees.
This was not pleasing to one Queenstown local, who went by
the name of Fay and stood in protest when both prime
ministers arrived by the war memorial shortly after.
The protester held up a sign calling on Australia to close
its offshore processing centre in Nauru and said she did not
agree with the government's deal with Australia.
The new arrangements start from next year and could include
refugees processed through offshore centres in Nauru and
Papua New Guinea.
Also announced this morning was the two government's new
commitment to trans-Tasman telecommunications and lowers
costs through action on roaming charges between the two
Both would introduce legislation into parliament that would
ensure regulators are able to investigate and take action to
Ms Gillard said this would benefit holiday makers and
business workers alike from both countries.
"A million Australians come to New Zealand every year. They
bring with them their mobile phones. Many of them are on
holiday so they do the kinds of things that people do on
holidays. They take a photo and try and send it back to
people at home...ring up friends and family at home."
After the announcements this morning both prime ministers
arrived in Queenstown at 2.30pm to lay a wreath by the
Queenstown war Memorial to mark the near centenary of
They were greeted by hundreds of Queenstowners and interested
onlookers before heading back to the Hilton Hotel at Kelvin
Heights where they posed for media with the ICC Cricket World
Asked whether Queenstown could host the CWC, Mr Key said it
was a possibility and both government's would be discussing
host towns in the near future.
He said Queenstown was a "beautiful location" and crowd
capacity as well as host abilities would be worked through.
Ms Gillard echoed this.
"I'm sure it would be a beautiful location here, including
for watching the cricket, so all of that's got to be worked
out," she said.
Straight after the photo opportunity Mr Key, Mrs Gillard and
a 6 car motorcade left for Arrowtown for a look in the quaint
The pair visit almost every shop on Arrowtown's main
Buckingham St and arrived at the Post Masters cafe for a
briefing while over one hundred onlookers observed.
Ms Gillard will fly out tomorrow morning back to Australia.