Foreign Minister Murray McCully will travel to the Cook Islands this week to undertake a range of meetings, including with Prime Minister Henry Puna and his Cabinet.
“My discussions with Prime Minister Puna and his Cabinet will cover a range of matters including New Zealand’s support to the Cook Island’s tourism sector, which accounts for over 60% of national GDP,” Mr McCully says.
“Ensuring the ongoing health of the tourism sector is a top priority in our partnership. For this reason, New Zealand has committed to projects designed to improve sanitation and water quality infrastructure, specifically in Rarotonga and Aitutaki.”
This visit will also provide an opportunity to hear from Cook Island representatives about economic development opportunities in the outer islands.
While in the Cook Islands, Minister McCully will also meet with members of the Opposition and attend engagements with the Cook Islands Tourism Board and key business leaders.
Foreign Minister Murray McCully will travel to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands next week for meetings with their political leaders about partnerships, economic development and maintaining political stability.
“Papua New Guinea is the largest Pacific Islands country, a leader in the region, and an important partner for New Zealand,” Mr McCully says.
“I will be discussing New Zealand’s support for PNG’s hosting of APEC, its broader leadership role in the region, and our partnership to expand public access to energy.
“I will also visit the Autonomous Region of Bougainville to see New Zealand’s development assistance, including meeting New Zealand Police and Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) volunteers stationed there.
“It will also be an opportunity to discuss PNG’s upcoming national elections.”
In the Solomon Islands, Mr McCully will discuss New Zealand’s ongoing partnership with the country, particularly how to move it forward once the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) ends in June 2017.
“New Zealand has been a strong supporter of stability in the Solomon Islands through our contribution to RAMSI,” Mr McCully says. “New Zealand will continue to support its stability and economic development after RAMSI departs. Tourism is an important economic opportunity for the Solomon Islands, and my trip will include a visit the Western Province to discuss New Zealand’s support in this area.”