Vice President Pence met today with Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters of New Zealand. The two reaffirmed the close strategic partnership between the United States and New Zealand and committed to maintaining the close ties of friendship between our two countries.  Vice President Pence and Deputy Prime Minister Peters discussed the United States’ Indo-Pacific Strategy, with a particular focus on the Pacific Islands region.  The Vice President welcomed the Deputy Prime Minister’s recent announcement of increased New Zealand assistance to Pacific Island nations.  The two discussed the United States’ Indo-Pacific Transparency Initiative and New Zealand’s Pacific Reset, noting the importance of good governance, the need for broad economic development in the Pacific that includes the private sector, and strong and inclusive government institutions, based on principles of openness and transparency.  The Vice President and Deputy Prime Minister agreed to the importance of the United States and New Zealand working closely together to achieve a breakthrough on improving bilateral trade.  They also agreed to deepen our Trade and Investment Facilitation Agreement by supporting WTO reform and working together to eliminate unfair trade practices.