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Goff to PNG, Fiji, April 10-16

Goff to PNG, Fiji, April 10-16

Foreign Minister Phil Goff and NZAID Minister Marian Hobbs will lead a delegation of MPs, NGOs, academics, business representatives and officials for a six-day visit to Papua New Guinea and Fiji on Thursday.

The trip will involve meetings with the Prime Minister, Foreign and Finance Ministers and other senior figures in both PNG and Fiji; business promotions, academic discussions, and visits to a number of development projects funded by New Zealand.

"This trip offers an excellent opportunity for New Zealand to strengthen links with PNG and Fiji, to gain a better understanding of the issues they face, and to share perceptions on issues of concern to the wider Pacific region," Mr Goff said.

"It offers us a chance to foster the good personal relationships already established between New Zealand Ministers and our counterparts in PNG and Fiji, and to emphasise our commitment to the region and the importance we attach to being a member of the Pacific community. “In PNG the centre piece of the visit will be annual consultations between Foreign Ministers on a wide range of bilateral and regional issues, including the Pacific Islands Forum which New Zealand is hosting in August.

“The Fiji visit follows on from the Fijian Foreign Minister’s visits here in March last year, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton’s trade-related visit to Fiji last July, and the participation of the Prime Minister and myself in the Pacific Islands Forum in Suva.

“It is another step along the path to full normalisation of the New Zealand-Fiji relationship.

"The Pacific continues to be the main focus of New Zealand's development assistance, and the trip also presents an opportunity to raise awareness in PNG and Fiji of the establishment of NZAID as a professional aid agency within MFAT. At the same time delegates will have a chance to witness first-hand some of the projects funded through NZAID," Mr Goff said.

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