PM Praises NZ Development Assistance Programme

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Above: Prime Minister Sogavare presents a gift of Solomon Islands artefacts to the New Zealand Foreign Minister Hon McCully at the conclusion of their courtesy meeting.

Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare has praised New Zealand’s development assistance to Solomon Islands, saying it focusses on areas that ‘really’ matter to the country.

The Prime Minister echoed the accolade in a courtesy meeting with the visiting New Zealand Foreign Minister Hon Murray McCully.

The New Zealand Foreign Minister arrived in Honiara on Wednesday 15th February on a two-day visit to discuss his country’s ongoing partnership with Solomon Islands and ways of enhancing this partnership.

Prime Minister Sogavare said the development partnership between New Zealand and Solomon Islands is based on a strong relationship that dates back before Solomon Islands became an independent nation and added that, “This relationship can only grow stronger and stronger.”

“Solomon Islands has benefitted greatly from New Zealand’s development assistance as it focuses on areas that really matter to us,” he added.

New Zealand’s development assistance to Solomon Islands focuses on the fisheries, education, aviation, economic governance, tourism and security sectors.

Prime Minister Sogavare said the areas of focus by New Zealand’s development assistance to Solomon Islands are in line with the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and thus will contribute to the latter’s achievement of these goals.

He said Solomon Islands is faced with the challenge of a rapid population growth rate and the only way that Solomon Islands can highly benefit from its abundant supply of human resources is to educate them.

On that note he acknowledged New Zealand’s development assistance towards Solomon Islands education sector. “New Zealand’s educational assistance mainly targeting the primary level of education is greatly appreciated as primary education is a critical component of education.

Prime Minister Sogavare and NZ Foreign Minister Hon McCully during their courtesy dialogue.

The New Zealand Foreign Minister in turn reiterated his country’s commitment to continuing and further strengthening its partnership with Solomon Islands.

He said in terms of economic development, Solomon Islands needs to focus on developing areas that give hope to the people for a brighter future.

On that note, the New Zealand Foreign Minister expressed New Zealand’s willingness to look into the idea of importing root crops from Solomon Islands as it is doing from other Pacific Island countries.

He also expressed New Zealand’s commitment towards the completion of what he described as ‘some unfinished businesses’ in Solomon Islands, particularly in the fisheries sector.

Within that context, Hon McCully further expressed the New Zealand Government’s interest to remain in conversation with the Solomon Islands Government towards moving the sector forward.

The New Zealand Foreign Minister also took the opportunity to register New Zealand’s readiness to be part of the post-RAMSI policing assistance alongside Australia.

He also expressed his country’s desire to see more momentum in the reforms it is funding with the Solomon Islands aviation sector, especially in the setting up of an entity to deal with management of airports.

At the conclusion of their dialogue, Prime Minister Sogavare thanked the New Zealand Foreign Minister for his assurance of New Zealand’s commitment towards its partnership with Solomon Islands.

He also thanked the New Zealand Foreign Minister for registering New Zealand’s interest to remain in dialogue with Solomon Islands on the Bina Habour project and to be a partner with Solomon Islands and Australia in post-RAMSI policing.

The Prime Minister also acknowledged New Zealand’s assistance towards reforms in the aviation sector and also the Munda International Airport project and assured him of the Solomon Islands Government commitment to ensure the successful implementation of the reforms as well as the international airport project.

The Prime Minister welcomed the idea of Solomon Islands exporting root crops to New Zealand and expressed desire to see the putting in place of arrangements to materialise it.

The New Zealand Foreign Minister also met with his Solomon Islands counterpart Hon Milner Tozaka.

He also visited Munda in Western Province to see the progress of the Munda International Airport Project which is being funded by New Zealand under its assistance towards the development of Solomon Islands aviation sector. On his return to Honiara, the New Zealand Foreign Minister held bilateral discussions with the Minister for Communication and Aviation, Hon Peter Shanel before departing for New Zealand.