10 Feb 2013

NZ seen as family by Gillard

2:43 pm on 10 February 2013

Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia again described New Zealand as 'family', before flying home after talks with John Key in Queenstown.

Their meeting on Saturday marked the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Closer Economic Relations agreement.

Ms Gillard said the trans-Tasman relationship is a close one and she thanked New Zealand for its support over the Queensland floods and bushfires in several states.

AAP reports Ms Gillard first referred to ''family'' in 2011 when she became the first foreign leader to address the New Zealand Parliament.

"There is a bond between Australia and New Zealand that is different to any bond that we share in any other part of the world," she said.

"The very fact that it's fundamental to our soul and how we perceive ourselves - the legend of ANZAC is part of us and it's part of New Zealand forged in history, here in contemporary times, and always here for the future."

Ms Gillard said on Saturday that both countries have benefited since the Closer Economic Relations agreement was signed.

A series of announcements aimed at strengthening the relationship was made on Saturday.