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New Zealand initiatives announced at Pacific Forum

27 October 2005

New Zealand initiatives announced at Pacific Forum

Prime Minister Helen Clark has announced new initiatives to be funded by New Zealand in the Pacific.

Helen Clark is attending the Pacific Islands Forum in Papua New Guinea. She said that the new initiatives are aimed at supporting the Forum's priorities for growth, sustainable development, and good governance in the Pacific.

The measures announced today are in the following areas:

HIV/AIDS

New Zealand will provide a package of support of up to $12 million over the next 3 years. Support will be targeted towards the implementation of the Pacific Regional HIV/AIDS strategy and for a number of other initiatives aligned to the goals of the Strategy.

Pacific Judicial Development Programme

NZAID and AusAid will each provide A$5 million for judicial education and development through a range of activities delivered at the national and regional levels, as first outlined in the Pacific Plan.

Customs

New Zealand will provide $1.4 million over two years to help establish a permanent home for the Oceania Customs Organisation Secretariat in Suva. This will enhance its work in the region on border security and trade facilitation.

Avian Flu

New Zealand will provide $825,000 to support the South Pacific Commission and the NZ Ministry of Health’s efforts to strengthen national preparedness and response to avian flu. This funding will be channelled through existing agencies.

Kula II Fund
New Zealand will contribute US$150,000 to help cover the operating costs of the Kula II fund for an initial 3 year period. This is a new Pacific investment fund aimed at promoting investments in Small and Medium Enterprises in the Pacific Islands. Kula II is supported by the Asian Development Bank, the European Investment Bank and the Commonwealth Development Corporation. Additional support is also being explored with other partners.

Tokelau Trust Fund

New Zealand will be putting an additional NZ$3 million into the Tokelau Trust Fund later this year. This will bring the balance of the fund to $19 million.

Small Island States

New Zealand will increase funding to the Forum Secretariat to enable the establishment of a unit to support the integration of the Small Islands States into regional cooperation activities.

Digital Strategy

Many in the region do not enjoy the benefits of access to telecommunications and the internet. New Zealand has offered to host the next Forum Communication Ministers meeting in the first half of 2006. Amongst other things, the meeting will consider how a regional approach to ICT, through the digital strategy, may be further developed.

Helen Clark said that the Pacific faces many challenges and pressures.

"New Zealand is regarded in the region as a good partner and friend, and I know that these new initiatives will be welcomed," said Helen Clark.

ENDS

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