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PM to lead Pacific Mission to Samoa, Tonga and Niue

PM to lead Pacific Mission to Samoa, Tonga and Niue

Prime Minister John Key will lead a delegation to Samoa, Tonga and Niue on Sunday for the 2014 Pacific Mission.

Mr Key will meet with Pacific leaders and visit New Zealand Aid Programme projects during the five day visit.

“The mission reflects the close relationship we have with our Pacific neighbours and the high regard New Zealand places on these relationships,’’ says Mr Key.

The New Zealand delegation will comprise of around 40 members and include cross party MPs, Pacific leaders, and representatives from Non-Governmental Organisations.

The delegation’s first stop will be Samoa, where they will attend the 52nd independence celebrations in Apia.

“This year also marks the 100th anniversary of New Zealand establishing an occupation over Samoa at the start of World War I. Despite these sombre beginnings New Zealand has developed a strong, vibrant relationship with Samoa which is reflected by the Treaty of Friendship between our two countries. I look forward to celebrating the strength of our relationship during the visit,” says Mr Key.

While in Samoa, Mr Key will also visit regions affected by the 2009 Tsunami and 2012 Cyclone Evan. New Zealand has contributed around NZ$22 million in response to these disasters.

The delegation will then head to Tonga.

“Our visit to Tonga will be an opportunity to have high level discussions, including on renewable energy, which is a priority for the Tongan Government and is supported by the New Zealand Aid Programme,” says Mr Key.

In Niue, Mr Key will meet with Premier Talagi and key players in the tourism and private sector.

“This is a valuable opportunity to engage with the leaders of these countries on regional priorities ahead of the upcoming Pacific Island Forum Leaders meeting and the Conference on Small Island Developing States,” says Mr Key.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully will attend the Pacific Island Forum Leaders meeting and the Conference on Small Island Developing States on behalf of the New Zealand Government.

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