9 Oct 2002

New Zealand and Australian teams to assess Vanuatu situation

12:16 pm on 9 October 2002

A high-level New Zealand delegation will fly to Vanuatu today for an assessment of the general situation in the country.

The visit by diplomats, defence and police representatives coincides with a visit of an Australian team who are both being sent by their respective foreign ministers.

The visit comes as senior police are being tried for mutiny after they arrested 15 public officials in August for allegedly conspiring to appoint a new police commissioner.

The three day of talks in Port Vila come after the diplomats made a similar assessment trip to Solomon Islands last week.

The Solomons finance minister, Laurie Chan, says the delegation showed interest in helping the government with redundancy plans for the public service.

Mr Chan says a task force is in place to look at the details to ensure the plan goes ahead immediately.

More than a thousand public servants are to be laid off as part of measures to curb overspending.