New Zealand’s first Ni-Vanuatu Police officer, Constable Lavinia Mahit returns home as part of the delegation visiting Melanesia.
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will lead a New Zealand delegation to Solomon Islands and Vanuatu next week, between 4 and 8 June, for the 2019 Pacific Mission.
“The timing of the visit will enable the delegation to reaffirm our commitment to building deeper relationships in the Pacific that enable open and frank dialogue with our partners,” Mr Peters said.
New Zealand’s development cooperation is significant in Melanesia. In both Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, New Zealand’s investments are targeted at building state capability, enhancing economic opportunities, and improving human development. The delegation’s visit will highlight work to improve gender equality and youth engagement, along with economic growth.
The delegation’s first stop will be Solomon Islands, where Minister Peters will engage for the first time with the newly-elected government.
“We look forward to celebrating the strength of the relationship with Solomon Islands during the visit and having discussions on a range of issues that affect the Pacific region,” Mr Peters said.
“Our visit to Vanuatu will be an opportunity to have high level discussions, including on the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme, which has resulted in two-way economic benefits and strong links with ni-Vanuatu people.”
The delegation includes Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, Under-Secretary for Ethnic Communities Michael Wood, and parliamentarians Poto Williams, Anahila Kanongata’a-Suisuiki, Marama Davidson, Todd McClay, Agnes Loheni, and Harete Hipango.
Also travelling on the Mission are a broad range of business and Pasifika representatives from New Zealand with important links into Melanesia.