Solomon Islands and New Zealand reaffirm their close bilateral cooperation when both Foreign Ministers met in Auckland, New Zealand last week. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon. Milner Tozaka met his counter-part, Hon. Murrary McCully in Auckland, New Zealand on Friday last week. Minister Tozaka was concluding his one week RSE Minister visit in New Zealand when he met with Minister McCully.
Both Ministers discuss wide range of issues including Labour Mobility, Aviation, Post-RAMSI Policing, tourism and New Zealand’s partnership programe to help youths in the Solomon Islands.
“Today, our relationship is characterised by regular political dialogue, a strong development partnership underpinned by strong economic and growing people-to-people links” said Minister McCully.
Solomon Islands and New Zealand signed a Joint Commitment for Development (JCfD) partnership in 2016 based on the goal of “achieving economic growth, a well-educated workforce and a safe and stable Solomon Islands”.
On labour mobility, both Ministers acknowledged the importance and the benefits of the Recognised Seasonal Employment (RSE) labour mobility scheme for both countries. Minister Tozaka highlighted the importance of the RSE labour mobility scheme and the benefits that Solomon Islands has received over the years. He also reaffirm the government’s commitment to support the scheme and work towards increasing the number of Solomon Islands workers. Minister McCully pledge New Zealand’s support to Solomon Islands to build and stregthened the capacity of its Labour Mobility Office (LMU) to support the implementation of the RSE scheme.
On Aviation, Minister McCully reaffirm the commitment of the New Zealand government to support the second phase of the Munda alternative international airport and two other domestic airports in the country, Seghi and Suavanao. The upgrading of the domestic airports will contribute significantly to boost tourism in the country. Minister Tozaka acknowledge the support provided by in the Aviation sector and reaffirm the government’s commitment as part of its contribution towards upgrading the domestic airports in the country.
With regard to the airport management reforms, Minister Tozaka inform Minister McCully on the work done by the Ministry of Communication and Aviation and the Solomon Islands Airports Limited Company (SIAL). Though work is slow but there is progress made and the government remain committed in implementing those reforms. Minister Tozaka also acknowlege New Zealand for the support provided in the airport management reforms.
On policing and post-RAMSI, Minister McCully stated that New Zealand is committed to support the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSPIF) in the area of community policing and crime prevention. In this regard, New Zealand has pledge its commitment to support youths in sports. New Zealand see community policing and youth engagement as important for Solomon Islands and is working closely with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) to provide support in this area after RAMSI leaves. Minister Tozaka welcome the support provided by New Zealand as part of post-RAMSI and also acknowledge New Zealand’s contribution towards RAMSI over the past years.
Both Ministers also discuss trade and investment. The New Zealand Pacific Business Council is looking forward to lead a Trade Mission to Solomon Islands in June this year where interested and potential New Zealand businesses and investors will meet with stakeholders in the country. Solomon Islands on the other hand is seeking the assistance of the New Zealand Trade Enterprise (NZTE) to explore market opportunites for its products and exports in New Zealand.
It was a fruitfull meeting between both Foreign Ministers. Minister Tozaka also took the opportunity to acknowledge McCully as the Foreign Minister of New Zealand for the last 8 years since he will retire from politics in May this year. Foreign Minister McCully has been supportive of the Solomon Islands-New Zealand development cooperation as well as RAMSI.
Hon. Milner Tozaka, Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade and Hon. Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand