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Peters meets with Samoan Prime Minister

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs


24 November 2006
Media statement

Peters meets with Samoan Prime Minister

Foreign Minister Winston Peters hosted talks with Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Lupesoliai Malielegaoi and members of the Samoan Cabinet in Wellington today.

Attending the talks were Samoa's Minister of Police, Prisons and Fire Service Toleafoa Apulu Faafisi, and Minister of Finance Niko Lee Hang; and New Zealand's Trade Minister Phil Goff, and Associate Pacific Island Affairs Minister Luamanuvao Laban.

“I welcome the opportunity to have Ministers from New Zealand and Samoa get together on an annual basis for whole-of-government consultations,” Mr Peters said.

“Samoa is one of our closest Pacific neighbours and we greatly value these regular exchanges of views.”

Prime Minister Tuilaepa said the discussions had covered bilateral issues as well as shared regional interests.

"The tragic recent events in Tonga and the efforts being made in the region to strengthen regional stability were an important focus of our discussions,” he said.

Mr Peters said the relationship had developed significantly since the signing of the 1962 Treaty of Friendship between the two countries – a fact that was underlined in the Joint Communiqué adopted at the end of the talks.

“The linkages between the governments and people of New Zealand and Samoa are already very strong and we are working together to strengthen them further.

"The initiative that Ministers from both countries have taken to meet for regular broad-ranging discussions makes an important contribution in this regard,” Mr Peters said.

--

Joint Communiqué issued at the Conclusion of the New Zealand/Samoa
Joint Ministerial Consultations, 24 November 2006


The second annual “whole of government” Joint Ministerial Consultations between Samoa and New Zealand were held in Wellington on 24 November 2006. Samoa’s delegation to the Consultations was led by the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Tuilaepa Sailele Lupesoliai Malielegaoi and the New Zealand delegation by Rt Hon Winston Peters, Minister of Foreign Affairs. (A full list of Ministerial participants is attached.)

During the Wellington discussions, Ministers reiterated their commitment to further strengthening the Samoa/New Zealand bilateral relationship, on the basis of a partnership based on friendship, trust, and mutual respect. Ministers noted the close family and historical ties between the two countries and their shared Polynesian heritage contributed further to the vitality of the relationship.

The discussions between Ministers served to confirm the value of regular Ministerial discussions between the two countries on issues of common interest and concern, in keeping with the principles of close cooperation embodied in the 1962 Treaty of Friendship. The annual Ministerial talks complemented the range of other mechanisms for consultation between New Zealand and Samoa at senior officials level, including the regular high-level discussions led by Samoa’s Ministry of Finance and NZAID in the area of overseas development assistance as well as the Police and Defence-related Mutual Assistance Programme (MAP) talks.

Ministers exchanged views and information on a number of issues falling within the bilateral relationship.

The ongoing importance of immigration issues in the bilateral relationship was acknowledged. Ministers noted the successful implementation in recent years of a number of reforms that have improved the uptake of the Samoa quota. In addition, Ministers exchanged views on the way forward with the development of a seasonal work programme that would deliver clear benefits and incorporate clear safeguards for both countries. Officials from the two countries will meet in New Zealand in December to elaborate a framework to enable the entry of seasonal workers from Samoa to New Zealand.

The two delegations also exchanged views on regional and bilateral trade issues. Ministers noted the considerable Pacific workload in this area including negotiations with the European Union towards an Economic Partnership Agreement, implementation of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations and, for Samoa, intensified work towards accession to the World Trade Organisation. On the latter, Ministers welcomed the recent exchanges of views between New Zealand and Samoa which had led to greater understanding of their respective positions on Samoa’s proposed accession to the WTO.

Ministers recognised that Samoa remained very interested in gaining access for its fruit and vegetables into New Zealand. Import standards are currently in place to enable exports from Samoa to New Zealand of papaya, eggplant and HFTA-treated breadfruit. Both Samoa and New Zealand looked forward to progress on the import health standard for the importation of seven types of citrus (grapefruit, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, pomelo and tangelo) into New Zealand in 2007. Officials on both sides were also looking at Samoa’s other market access requests and welcomed the imminent commencement of a risk analyst to Biosecurity New Zealand to work solely on Pacific issues.

The challenges faced by Samoa in the law and justice sector were also highlighted. In March 2006 Samoa had sought special additional assistance from Australia and New Zealand in this area. In addition to the institutional strengthening project for Samoa’s Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration being implemented by NZAID under New Zealand’s ODA programme, New Zealand had also provided additional police and prosecutions support to assist Samoa with the investigation and prosecution of serious crime. Samoa, Australia and New Zealand were now working closely, in consultation with their respective agencies and other donors, on the development and implementation of a sector wide plan to guide assistance. Ministers recognised that effective “whole of government” coordination would be required by both Samoa and donors to ensure that the challenges here were dealt with effectively.

Ministers noted that over the last two years officials from New Zealand and Samoa had sought to develop and implement a number of new initiatives aimed at strengthening cooperation between their government agencies in various fields. Progress made in implementing some of these initiatives is summarised in Annex A.

In addition to discussions on bilateral issues, Ministers also discussed regional issues of common concern including the recent tragic events in Tonga, the Pacific Plan, objectives for the regional institutional framework review, and improved regional dialogue with external donors.

Before concluding the meeting and adopting this Joint Statement, Ministers discussed arrangements for next year’s Ministerial consultations. Hon Tuilaepa Sailele Lupesoliai Malielegaoi, as leader of the Samoa delegation, extended an invitation to New Zealand to consultations in Samoa in the second half of 2007. The agenda and arrangements for the 2007 talks would be the subject of further discussions between officials in the course of the next year.

Rt Hon Winston Peters Hon Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi
Leader of NZ Delegation Leader of Samoan Delegation
List of Ministers Participating in New Zealand/Samoa
Joint Ministerial Consultations
18 March 2005

Samoa:

Hon Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister

Hon Toleafoa Apulu Faafisi, Minister of Police, Prisons and Fire Service

Hon Niko Lee Hang, Minister of Finance


New Zealand:
Rt Hon Winston Peters, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Hon Phil Goff, Minister for Trade Negotiations
Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, Associate Minister of Pacific Island Affairs


Annex A


Progress on Initiatives to Further Strengthen the Bilateral Relationship


Over the last two years, officials from New Zealand and Samoa have pursued a number of new initiatives aimed at strengthening their cooperation in various fields. While it is recognised that existing links between New Zealand and Samoan government agencies are already very strong in many areas, the new initiatives provide further opportunities for the two Governments to strengthen cooperative linkages on a “whole of government” basis. These initiatives are additional to the core cooperation pursued by NZAID and Samoan agencies under the Official Development Assistance Programme. Key milestones and further understandings on the way-forward with the initiatives have been reached in the course of the last year, as follows:

New Zealand Prime Minister’s Fellowship

In August 2006 the initial New Zealand Prime Minister’s Samoa Fellowship was awarded to Laeimau Oketevi Tanuvasa-Savea, an active business and community leader in Samoa focussed in the ICT sector. The Fellowship Programme, which involved a one week study tour to New Zealand, proved very successful. A further Fellowship will be awarded in 2007. New Zealand and Samoa will consult further on the range of candidates who might be considered for the next award.

Shared Teaching Resources

The initial stage of the shared teaching resources initiative, which has involved scoping out the resources that would be translated and reproduced for use by Samoa’s Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, has been completed. The Samoan and New Zealand partners in the initiative are now in the second phase which involves the translation and publication of the resources (a total of 428220 books are to be printed: 280,800 small books, 140,400 large books and 7020 teachers’ notes).

Samoa MPMC/NZ MPIA: Secondment Proposal

Samoa’s Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet (MPMC) remains interested in pursuing a secondment from the NZ Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs (MPIA). As MPMC is currently undergoing some reorganisation with four new policy officers to be recruited to provide further policy capacity to the Ministry, it has been agreed that the timing and arrangements for a placement from MPIA will be better considered once this reinforced policy team is in place.

MESC/SPARC Sports Cooperation

Samoa’s Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (MESC), Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC) and NZAID are continuing to pursue the Samoa Sports Support Project. The three-year project, aimed at strengthen policy-making and technical capacity within Samoa sport and enhancing SPARC’s initiatives directed at Pacific Island New Zealanders, is now progressing from the design phase to the implementation phase. New Zealand-Samoa exchanges and training workshops will be scheduled for early 2007.

Artist in Residence

Following discussions over the last year between Creative NZ and the National University of Samoa (NUS) an artist in residence initiative is now well advanced. It has been determined that the initial Artist In Residence will be a performance artist, Nathaniel Lees, and that the initial placement at NUS will now occur in the early part of 2007.

In addition, the two performance artists workshops convened by Creative NZ in 2005 and 2006 were acknowledged for the opportunities they had made available to Samoan students at NUS.

Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) Research Fellowship

A PCF Research Fellowship will commence in February 2007, with the initial fellowship being held by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) at Victoria University to support work already underway at the National University of Samoa on public sector reform.

Health Issues

Samoa and New Zealand agreed in 2005 to develop an institutional linkages programme between Counties Manukau District Health Board (CMDHB) and the Samoa Ministry of Health. The programme is designed to assist in building the capacity of the secondary/tertiary health sector in Samoa, as well as providing specialist medical treatment either in-country or in New Zealand. A coordinator has been contracted to lead the development and provide management oversight of the programme and a scoping visit to Samoa is planned for December 2006.


ENDS

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