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Goff names new High Commissioner to Solomons

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

1 October 2003

Goff names new High Commissioner to Solomons

New Zealand’s next High Commissioner to Solomon Islands will be career diplomat Brian Sanders, Foreign Minister Phil Goff announced today.

“Mr Sanders will take up his position at a time of profound change in the Solomons. After three years of serious law and order breakdown and rapidly declining economic conditions, the country is regaining stability," Mr Goff said.

“Since late July, the Regional Assistance Mission has done an outstanding job in removing weapons from criminal elements and gangs. This has contributed greatly to restoring law and order to most of the country. Attention is now focusing more on restoring key government institutions and infrastructure.”

Mr Goff said New Zealand would put considerable effort into the Solomon Islands education sector to underpin the future of the country.

“Ensuring all Solomon Island children have access to basic education is a core aim of NZAID’s assistance programme in the Solomon Islands.

“New Zealand’s commitment to Solomon Islands is clear. The NZAID allocation for Solomon Islands has increased by 75 percent (to $14 million annually) this year, making the country New Zealand’s largest aid partner. Our aim is to make a difference long-term. “

Mr Sanders' previous postings include Washington, Moscow, and Riyadh. Most recently he was Deputy Head of Mission in Bangkok. He is currently responsible for Regional Security in the Ministry’s Pacific Division.

Mr Sanders takes up his new position in January, replacing Heather Riddell who returns to Wellington.

All Phil Goff’s media releases and speeches are posted at www.beehive.govt.nz

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