Rishi Sunak says UK ready to support New Zealand after Cyclone Gabrielle wreaks havoc

Rishi Sunak says UK ready to support New Zealand after Cyclone Gabrielle wreaks havoc

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke with New Zealand’s new premier Chris Hipkins on Monday and pledged UK assistance to the cyclone-battered country.

Mr Hipkins, who took office after the unexpected resignation of Jacinda Ardern, spoke to Mr Sunak on Monday evening, Downing Street said.

The UK is ready to support New Zealand in “any way possible”, Mr Sunak told Mr Hipkins, as Cyclone Gabrielle wreaked havoc, causing power cuts, flooding and evacuations.

Mr Sunak also paid tribute to New Zealand’s support for Ukraine in its struggle against Russia’s invasion, “including the important role the country was playing in training Ukrainian soldiers in the UK”.

“Both leaders agreed that the continued international solidarity in support of Ukraine sent a strong message to aggressors across the world,” Downing Street said.

New Zealand cyclone – in pictures

“The Prime Minister said he looked forward to the UK joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade bloc with a combined GDP of £9 trillion ($10.93 trillion), in the near future, and added that he saw it as a chance to bring like-minded countries together.

“The leaders hoped to meet in person soon.”

Mr Hipkins was sworn in as New Zealand’s 41st prime minister last month.

The Labour Party politician was education and police minister under Ms Ardern, who dramatically resigned saying she no longer had “enough in the tank” to fulfil the role.

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