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Key and Dutch king discuss range of issues

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/11/2016
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands walk out to lay a fern on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at the National War Memorial on November 7, 2016 in Wellington. © Getty King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands walk out to lay a fern on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at the National War Memorial on November 7, 2016 in Wellington.

Prime Minister John Key and Dutch King Willem-Alexander discussed a wide range of issues when they met in parliament.

The royal and his wife Queen Maxima arrived for their first official visit earlier on Monday, and the meeting followed a powhiri at Government House with Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy.

Mr Key told reporters he discussed security and trade with King Willem-Alexander, including the free trade agreement New Zealand is seeking with the European Union.

"The Netherlands has been a strong supporter of that and we see a lot of opportunities to strengthen economic ties between our two countries," Mr Key said.

"They can be quite influential and it was a good discussion, he is very knowledgeable not only about what's happening in the Netherlands but also in the European region."

After their meeting, King Willem-Alexander quipped that Mr Key should arrange better weather for his next visit to New Zealand.

They were greeted with grey skies and rain in Wellington.

"Next time we come back make sure the weather is good," King Willem-Alexander said.

The pair also spoke about the Dutch elections next March, while Mr Key asked after Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

"He sends his warmest regards," the King replied.

Later he sat down with opposition leader Andrew Little, who explained his role as a list MP and brought up the Labour party's annual conference which he attended in Auckland on the weekend before getting down to business.

The royals will be guests of honour at a state dinner on Monday night.

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