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By RNZ News

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says it is important for New Zealand to have tight connections with the US on big global issues – including trade, covid and climate change – and she will be pursuing a strong relationship with President-elect Joe Biden.

Joe Biden has become President-elect after a teeth-gritting election.

The result was called yesterday after Biden overtook President Donald Trump in the state of Pennsylvania, winning the state gave Biden 290 Electoral College seats – 20 more than the margin he needed for victory.

President-elect Biden visited New Zealand in 2016 in his role as Vice-President.

Jacinda Ardern told RNZ Morning Report there was no question personal connections made a difference to a relationship.

“But I’ll be wanting to make sure that on behalf of New Zealand that we are maintaining good strong relationships, particularly in our [Pacific] region which has been quite contested over a number of years, and working together on issues that matter to the whole global community; trade, covid, climate change.”

The strength of the relationship is important regardless of whether bilateral discussion take place over the phone or in person, she said.

“I will be pursuing a strong relationship there because it matters to us, it’s important for us to have the ability on big issues to really have those tight connections when we need them…”

Ardern said the leadership of the World Trade Organisation was important to New Zealand but there had been dispute over certain appointments which had held things up for New Zealand exporters.

“We need to have those strong relationships and engagements there,” she said.

“Trade issues will certainly be high on our agenda.”

New Zealand will be encouraging the US to take leadership on the international commitment to climate change, she said.

This article is republished by the Pacific Media Centre under a partnership agreement with RNZ.

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