New Zealand Election Postpones Pacific Forum Until October
By Selwyn Manning – Scoop Co-Editor
The Pacific Islands Forum secretariat was asked by the New Zealand government to postpone this year’s summit meetings due to the general election expected to be called in September. The Pacific Forum will now be held in late October in Papua New Guinea.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson Emma Reilly said the forum secretariat was asked by New Zealand if the dates could be changed due to the NZ general election expected to be held at the same time: “The secretariat circulated this request to members, who agreed to the change,” Emma Reilly said.
The New Zealand general election date is expected to be called by Prime Minister Helen Clark in the next few weeks. Scoop understands the election will be September 17 or September 24.
A series of polls over the past month have shown a clear trend away from Labour in favour of a probable centre-right coalition between the National Party and New Zealand First.
Molesworth and Featherston political intelligence newsletter
has calculated the poll trend (should an election be called
The Pacific Islands Forum begins on Tuesday October 25 with the Small Island States Summit and the Pacific ACP (African Caribbean Pacific) Leaders Summit, the Pacific leaders' retreat on October 26th, the actual Pacific Islands Forum on October 27th, and post-forum dialogue partners meeting (where foreign ministers enter talks) on the 28th and 29th.
The forum’s leaders summit is attended by the prime ministers of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, PNG, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Nauru, French Caledonia, and other islands states.
The Pacific Islands Forum will discuss issues impacting on the Pacific region, topics will include: regional security, aid, policing, peacekeeping, money laundering, arms trading, HIV-AIDS in the Pacific, resource management of commodities and fish stocks, and regionalized governance.
Other bodies attending the forum will include: the European Union, the United Nations, The United States of America, China and Japan. Also attending but meeting separate from the official forum will be non-government-organisations (NGOs) representing stakeholder groups and lobbyists.