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Ministers Reaffirm Pacific Connections This Week

Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Health Minister and Minister for Pacific Peoples Dr Shane Reti are reaffirming the importance of New Zealand’s connections to the Pacific by visiting Tonga, Cook Islands and Samoa this week.

“New Zealand enjoys strong and long-standing relationships with our Pacific partners - especially in Polynesia, where we have close political, economic, and people-to-people ties,” says Mr Peters.

“This trip is an opportunity for New Zealand to continue to strengthen and progress our bilateral cooperation with Tonga, Cook Islands, and Samoa while supporting each country’s respective development goals.

“Given New Zealand’s place and influence in the region, our visit will also reinforce our commitment to collectively responding to the many — and varied — strategic issues and challenges facing both the Pacific, and the wider Indo-Pacific,” Mr Peters says.

Minister Reti says he is pleased to undertake a visit to Polynesia, representing both his portfolios.

“New Zealand has deep and longstanding cultural links with the Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga, and I am looking forward to reinforcing those, as well as discussing the shared issues our communities face in New Zealand and the Pacific, particularly in health.”

The Ministers will meet with the Acting Prime Minister in Tonga, and the Prime Ministers of Cook Islands and Samoa; undertake calls on cultural, community and political leaders; and visit New Zealand-supported activities.

Minister Reti will also meet with select health officials in each country to discuss New Zealand’s role in working together to deliver on long-term health priorities, both nationally and regionally.

Ministers Peters and Reti depart New Zealand tomorrow evening (6 February) and return on Saturday 10 February. They will travel on an NZDF plane.

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