Finland PM Marin meets Ardern - 'Our countries are aligned'

November 30, 2022
Jacinda Ardern and Finland's Sanna Marin

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marina and NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern held a joint press conference in Auckland this morning, focused particularly on Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Marin arrived in New Zealand yesterday, marking the first visit by a Finnish prime minister. It's also the first time the two prime ministers have met in person and Ardern called the visit "a historic occasion".

"My talks with the Prime Minister today have affirmed the warm relationship between New Zealand and Finland," she said this morning.

"Our countries are aligned on incredibly important issues."

Ardern said both New Zealand and Finland share a strong commitment to democratic values, to multilateralism, and to the rules-based international order - which is being threatened, particularly by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, she added.

"Our discussions today are timely ... It is more important than ever for us to work together to support international rules and the values that underpin them.

"Both of our countries have been unequivocal in condemning {Russian President Vladimir] Putin's illegal war on Ukraine," Ardern said.

Finland shares a 1,340km eastern border with Russia. Ardern said the war was "literally on Finland's doorstep", and that the two prime ministers had discussed their responses to the conflict at length today.

They also discussed the "gravely concerning" situation facing women and girls in Iran, Ardern said: "The violence being used against peaceful protesters there, as well as the death penalty sentences being issued to protesters, is abhorrent.

"My hope is that we will continue to work together on this and many other issues."

Marin said she was "very pleased" to be visiting New Zealand, and that it was "a privilege" to be greeted by a pōwhiri.

Finnish PM Sanna Marin, left, and Jacinda Ardern.

She pointed to Finland and New Zealand's histories as among the first countries to grant full political rights to women.

"It is not a coincidence that our countries are today one of the most advanced economies and equal societies in the world."

Marin added that Finland and New Zealand's "common values" will help drive economic opportunity in the future.

"The new free trade agreement between [the] European Union and New Zealand opens new opportunities also for our cooperation.

"And finally, the most importantly, we need to continue our efforts in support of Ukraine.

"Russia's illegal and brutal war against Ukraine has to end on terms set by Ukraine," she said.

"I hope my visit will bring our already excellent relations to the next level."

Others topics discussed at today's bilateral included climate change and the Christchurch Call, of which Finland is a supporter.