27 Apr 2011

PM to discuss trade with French

10:40 pm on 27 April 2011

Prime Minister John Key is in France on Wednesday for a series of meetings with government leaders including President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Mr Key is on a week-long trip to Britain and France where he has attended Anzac Day commemorations in both countries and met with The Queen.

Mr Key will meet with Mr Sarkozy for 90 minutes and says discussions are likely to cover Libya, Afghanistan and economic matters.

Mr Key says he also wants to talk about trade, as along with Germany, France is the economic powerhouse of Europe.

He expects to talk about greater access for New Zealand to their markets and progression of freer trade to Europe.

During his visit, Mr Key will also meet with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, the Foreign Minister and Minister for Economy, Industry and Employment.

On Friday, he will attend the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London.

PM hopeful of resolving departure tax issue

John Key says he is hopeful of a resolution to the departure tax issue following his meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

The tax imposed by the British government greatly increases long-haul ticket prices - by more than $150 for some travellers to New Zealand - though a proposed rise in the tax was put on hold in March.

Mr Key says Mr Cameron was well-briefed on New Zealand's position and sympathetic to this country's point of view.

The Prime Minister said before the meeting with Mr Cameron on Tuesday night that he was keen to discuss Britain's domestic situation, especially with its government putting in place a programme of public service cuts to try to rein in its huge budget deficit.

Mr Key said he wanted to get a sense of how the programme is going and take on board any lessons from it.