Singaporean PM arrives in NZ

KIRSTY JOHNSTON
Last updated 19:19 07/10/2012
TALKING ASIA: Asia New Zealand Foundation chairman Philip Burdon greets the Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Stamford Plaza Hotel in central Auckland.
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ
TALKING ASIA: Asia New Zealand Foundation chairman Philip Burdon greets the Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Stamford Plaza Hotel in central Auckland.

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Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has touched down amid a swathe of black suits and handshakes for his three-day visit to New Zealand.

Lee arrived in the country tonight for his second trip here since he was elected prime minister in 2004.

Lee was to attened an Asia New Zealand Foundation dinner tonight, where media were allowed to photograph him but not ask questions about the visit.

However, Lee earlier posted on his Facebook page that he was looking forward to meeting many “new and old” friends on his journey.

The announcement was met with more than 2,000 “likes” by his followers, with many politely wishing him a “safe” and “fruitful” trip.

Prime Minister John Key said in a statement earlier this week that New Zealand’s relationship with Singapore was deep and enduring, and the visit was an opportunity to reaffirm the “valued friendship”.

Key said the two countries shared common views on many regional issues and there was a long history of education and defence co-operation.

They also continued to strengthen their cooperation in a broad range of areas, including science and innovation, he said.

“I look forward to having constructive discussions with Prime Minister Lee.”

Lee met with the Singaporean community and senior business leaders today and will travel to Wellington to meet Key tomorrow.

Following the visit Lee will carry on to Australia, where he will be joined by his wife.

WHO IS PRIME MINISTER LEE?

Third Prime Minister of Singapore

Elected in 2004

Son of the country’s first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew

Age 60

Before entering politics he was a member of the armed forces

Is one of the most highly-paid leaders in the world – earning $2.2 million per year (or around NZ $2.19million) compared to John Key’s $411,000.

Is also a fan of the breakout hit Gangnam Style by South Korean rapper Psy, of which he posted a parody on his Facebook this week.

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