7 Nov 2003

NZ minister defends absence of women in Eminent Persons Group

12:03 pm on 7 November 2003

New Zealand's Minister for Pacific Islands Affairs, Phil Goff, says there is an even gender balance on the two Panels selected to review the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

Mr Goff was responding to comments by the Director of the Fiji-based Pacific Concerns Resource Centre, Hilda Lini, that members of the Eminent Persons Group panel were too old and that there were no women among them

But the Minister says while it's true there are no women are on the first panel the balance is restored by the second group.

"We have tried to balance that out by having what is called a Reflection Group, and that Relection Group has two women on it - one from Fiji and one from Samoa. And of course the chair of the overall review team is (NZ prime minister) Helen Clark and nobody doubts that she is going to assert her will and give her perspective on the review as well"