Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says a six-fold increase in the Aotearoa New Zealand-Spain working holiday plan will significantly increase the number of young people who can live and work in each other’s countries.
After meeting in Madrid on Tuesday, Jacinda Ardern and Spanish President Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón announced the Working Holiday/Youth Mobility Scheme.
The presidents said that under the expanded scheme, 2000 young New Zealanders and Spaniards from each country will be permitted to travel and work in each other’s countries for up to two years, up from 200 each currently.
“I am delighted to announce a boost to our Working Holiday Scheme with Spain. These schemes create opportunities for young New Zealanders to develop their skills and work experience while travelling and living in Spain,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“These changes reflect the strength of the relationship between Spain and New Zealand.
“New Zealand and Spain are great friends, with many shared values. The meeting today gave us the chance to discuss how we can continue to strengthen our ties through trade, co-operation in areas of shared interest and our people. I look forward to hosting President Sánchez in New Zealand in the future,” Jacinda Ardern said.
New Zealand and Spain are also cooperating to protect seabirds endangered by fishing operations. Leaders endorsed a Seabird Conservation Action Plan to improve cooperation on tangible projects to safeguard seabirds, particularly the rare Antipodean albatross, whose migratory habits include the area in which New Zealand and Spain operate.
The two leaders also talked about how important it is to work together to strengthen trade and economic ties as both countries focus on post-pandemic economic growth and recovery.
They agreed that a high-quality Free Trade Agreement between New Zealand and the European Union would be critical in opening up new markets for New Zealand and Spanish businesses in Europe and the Indo-Pacific.
“I shared with President Sanchez my view on what a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and New Zealand could represent. It would allow us to showcase sustainability and climate in a trade agreement – an issue the EU cares deeply about,” Jacinda Ardern said.
During the meeting, the two leaders decided to form a Global Values Partnership, pledging to collaborate closely on issues such as democracy, sustainability, human rights, and the rule of law.
They also discussed Indo-Pacific regional challenges and the significance of cooperation in protecting the international rules-based system.
Both restated their criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, highlighted the support provided by both countries in response, and examined what other steps may be made to strengthen diplomatic efforts in Ukraine.
“Meeting with President Sánchez was a chance to reaffirm our countries’ commitment to working together, and alongside others, to maintain international peace and security, and the rules-based order. It is fitting that our meeting took place in the lead up to the NATO Summit,” Jacinda Ardern said.