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NZ support for upgrade of Pacific navigation charts

Hon Murray McCully

Minister of Foreign Affairs

30 July 2014 Media Statement
NZ support for upgrade of Pacific navigation charts

Foreign Minister Murray McCully has announced that New Zealand will lead a new regional programme to improve Pacific navigation charts.

“Safe and reliable sea links are a vital piece of infrastructure for the ‘blue economies’ of the Pacific,” Mr McCully says.

“Shipping services are the primary means of shifting goods and passengers between islands and the Pacific is one of the fastest growing markets for the cruise ship industry.

“We will invest $5 million in a five-year programme by Land Information New Zealand and the Secretariat for the Pacific Community to carry out hydrographic survey and charting work in the region.

“The programme builds on a successful pilot project in Vanuatu and the initial focus will be on Tonga, Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, and Tokelau, with a view to extending it to cover the rest of the Pacific.

“This work is critical because from July 2016 all vessels operating in the region will need to use Electronic Navigation Charts to meet international standards. Our support will ensure that cargo and cruise ships will continue to operate in the Pacific, by bringing charts up to this standard.

“In addition to improving safety, good hydrographic information has strong links to economic growth by supporting trade and tourism. Well over 90 per cent of trade to and from the Pacific is via shipping services and it is estimated that the cruise ship industry generated earnings of US$640million in direct passenger expenditure for the region in 2012.

“New Zealand has developed strong expertise in hydrographic survey work and we are pleased to be sharing this technical know-how with our closest neighbours and improving the safety and reliability of shipping routes in the region,” Mr McCully says.

Mr McCully is in Palau for the 45th Pacific Islands Forum.

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