10 Mar 2003

The Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Australia say Pacific is vulnerable to terrorism

11:31 am on 10 March 2003

New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark and her Australian counterpart, John Howard have both said there are real concerns about the ability of small Pacific nations to combat terrorism.

During a visit to New Zealand, Mr Howard said the rise of international terrorism had made all the nations of the Pacific more vulnerable.

Ms Clark said the increased threat had created a huge burden for smaller nations.

She said New Zealand had felt the effort, post September 11, in passing new acts of parliament, drawing up legislation and making extra provision for spending on counter terrorism activities.

She said it would be much worse for small Pacific island states.

The Pacific Island Forum is due to meet in Auckland in August, with the issue of terrorism, and the ability of small island states to deal with it, at the top of the agenda.

Ms Clarke said one of the most productive areas for discussion at the forum would be regional capability to ensure that everyone had counter terrorism capacity that was up to scratch.