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Australia and NZ to Discuss AUKUS Participation

Australian and New Zealand defence ministers are set to hold security talks as interest builds in broadening the AUKUS partnership.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles will visit Wellington on Thursday where he will meet with NZ deputy leader Carmel Sepuloni, Defence Minister Andrew Little and Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

While the AUKUS agreement will deliver Australia nuclear-powered submarines using American and British technology, there are other non-nuclear aspects to the deal.

A second pillar to the tripartite deal, which is of interest to the NZ government, covers the sharing of advanced military technologies, including quantum computing and artificial intelligence.

Mr Marles said the ministers would discuss opportunities to enhance the strategic focus of the relationship and working closely to improve outcomes for the region.

“We have an ambitious agenda to deepen our defence cooperation to ensure we remain capable and effective in responding to our region’s multi-faceted security challenges,” he said.

The meeting comes ahead of the inaugural Australia-New Zealand foreign and defence ministers meeting in June.

Mr Little has said New Zealand is interested in exploring participation in the second pillar, which could include such things as surveillance and radio technology.

NZ is concerned AUKUS may jeopardise the Treaty of Rarotonga which designates large swathes of the Pacific free of nuclear weapons.

Source : GoulburnPost