New Zealand deputy Prime Minister and Associate Foreign Affairs (Pacific Region) Minister Carmel Sepuloni is leading a Pacific Mission to Solomon Islands, Fiji and Tonga – the first to be undertaken since COVID-19.
“The Pacific region remains our Government’s foreign policy priority, and that includes continuing to strengthen Aotearoa New Zealand’s relationship with our Pacific whānau,” Sepuloni said.
“The Pacific Mission provides us with an invaluable opportunity to strengthen our relationships even further, and reaffirm our commitment to working alongside our Pacific whānau to respond to challenges together,” Sepuloni said.
Sepuloni will be accompanied by Minister for Pacific Peoples Barbara Edmonds, Minister for Climate Change James Shaw and a delegation including Parliamentary and NGO representatives, iwi, business and community leaders and Pacific youth.
“Aotearoa New Zealand is in and of the Pacific. What happens within the Pacific region impacts New Zealanders here at home,” Carmel Sepuloni said?
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this will be the first Pacific Mission we have undertaken since 2019. I’m excited that alongside being able to reconnect with the Pacific face-to-face, we can also showcase the breadth and depth of this reconnection, our engagement and our leadership in the Pacific region.
“We proudly take a Pacific-led approach to solving the issues facing the region, not least to mention, climate change.
“Tackling climate change together, which has become a harsh reality here in Aotearoa New Zealand, continues to be of urgent importance. It’s more important than ever that we all take collective action to combat its effects, especially alongside our Pacific whānau.
“Our shared Blue Pacific Continent also faces a range of challenges including institutional and economic fragility, social and demographic issues, and increasing geo-strategic competition.
“With a focus on climate change and a strong delegation representing all pockets of our country, our message on the Pacific Mission is clear – we’re committed to working together in partnership, to tackle the challenges our region faces like climate change, cost of living pressures, global inflation and heightened strategic competition.
“The Pacific Mission underlines our place in the region, in partnership with and alongside our Pacific whānau,” Sepuloni said.