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Visiting Kiwi troops involved in training Ukrainian civilians for combat, and getting the UK free trade agreement into force are among the highlights for Chris Hipkins as he reflects on his time in London.
The Prime Minister led a delegation to the crowning of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey in central London.
The ceremony means the longtime Crown Prince is now formally King of the United Kingdom and 14 Commonwealth realms, including New Zealand, as well as being head of the 56-member Commonwealth of Nations.
Speaking to media following the coronation Hipkins said it was “clearly a very significant ceremony”.
“There was a really nice atmosphere within the abbey,” he said.
“You could tell that a lot of goodwill towards the royal family was being expressed from around the world.
“The atmosphere outside was quite phenomenal.”
Hipkins was sitting behind Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“It is actually a really good opportunity to have a more informal conversation with a lot of the people who we might interact with on a more formal basis normally.”
Hipkins said he was aware of the sense of history unfolding while watching the coronation take place.
Climate change was a big theme of his conversation with Trudeau, as well as the Pacific region.
Following their meeting Trudeau told media the two had “so much in common”.
“As progressive leaders focused on creating strong, growing economies relying on trade but being really thoughtful on how we strengthen that trade in ways that benefits our citizens.
“We’ve also been deeply, deeply aligned with some really core issues from the fight against climate change to the way we’re working together, learning from each other and sharing our successes with others around the world … the leadership that New Zealand is showing in particular around indigenous reconciliation and partnerships is inspiring for us in Canada as we advance.”
Trudeau said a lot of questions were being asked around the world on how do the safety of AI, the internet and how to adjust to the rapid pace of technology and change and impacts it can have on.
“Well New Zealand unfortunately, but with tremendous strength and leadership, has been leading on that with the Christchurch Call and that’s something we’re working on.”
Hipkins said he had picked up some phone numbers for international leaders while in the UK.
“It is always nice to meet with people in person as an incoming Prime Minister.
“I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a lot of people on the phone, but it’s actually a good opportunity to meet them in person.”
His highlights for the trip were getting the UK free trade agreement into force and visiting the Kiwi troops involved in training Ukrainians.
“It really, for me underscored the importance of the rest of the world supporting Ukraine in their fight against a massive injustice.”
Hipkins will be flying out of London in time to be back in New Zealand for Cabinet on Monday.
During his trip he also met first-in-line William, the Prince of Wales, and King Charles – who talked with Hipkins about Cyclone Gabrielle recovery and climate change, and dispatched him from Buckingham Palace with a tray of sausage rolls.
Hipkins said they were “very good company.
“It was a good opportunity to speak with members of the royal family, but actually also with the other leaders from around the world, with which New Zealand has a lot to talk about, you know, a lot of, a lot of things in common.”