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PCF Thanks Vaovasamanaia Rt Hon Winston Peters

The Pacific Co-operation Foundation (PCF) is calling for the people of New Zealand and the Pacific to recognise the significant contribution, made by outgoing Minister for Foreign Affairs Vaovasamanaia Rt Hon Winston Peters, to New Zealand’s diplomatic relations with the Pacific region.

PCF Board Chair and Acting Chief Executive Fiso John Fiso said, “It cannot be underestimated the strong policy platform that was laid under the leadership of Minister Peters and his Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs Fletcher Tabuteau, with the launch of the Pacific Reset at the beginning of 2018, signalling a significant foreign policy shift for New Zealand.”

“And to you both, Rt Hon Winston Peters and Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau, we say, “thank you”.

“The Pacific Reset policy set a new benchmark for New Zealand’s diplomatic interactions with the Pacific, based on five fundamental principles - understanding, friendship, mutual benefit, collective ambition, and sustainability, and this was matched with a significant bolster to New Zealand’s aid budget to the Pacific.

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Mr Peters in his speech to the Lowy Institute in Sydney at the beginning of 2018, described the Pacific region as being, “challenged by a dizzying array of social and environmental problems……Yet, it is also a region of opportunity and empowerment where Pacific countries want to stand on their own two feet as equals, make their own choices, and have their distinctive voices heard on the global stage”.

Fiso John Fiso said these words stand as true today as they did then, if not more, as Pacific nations grapple with the serious economic and social effects of Covid-19.

“It is true, New Zealand is a Pacific country, linked by history, culture, politics and demographics, and as Minister Peters said, “As part of the Pacific family, New Zealand is conscious that our identity, national security and our prosperity are inextricably linked and that we have, in a very genuine sense, a shared Pacific destiny”.

“We need more champions for the Pacific, and as the leading and trusted voice of the Pacific, the PCF believes in fostering genuine partnerships, and collaborating with individuals and groups within New Zealand and across the Pacific region, to create greater opportunities and promising futures for Pacific people.

“Whoever takes on the Foreign Affairs mantle next, the PCF urges for them to continue to prioritise this important mahi, work closely with key strategic partners, and for New Zealand to always stay true to the principles laid down in its landmark Pacific Reset policy,” Fiso John Fiso said.

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