30 Mar 2004

Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Fiji hold talks in Wellington

8:11 am on 30 March 2004

The Fiji prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, will today hold talks with his New Zealand counterpart, Helen Clark, in Wellington - a week before the two leaders meet again at a Pacific mini summit in Auckland.

A spokesman for Mr Qarase says today's meeting is at Miss Clark's invitation but neither side has said what is on the agenda.

Mr Qarase will return to New Zealand next week when Pacific leaders are scheduled to discuss a report on how to reform the Pacific Islands Forum.

Miss Clark is the current chair of the organisation which at its annual summit last August elected Australian, Greg Urwin, as its new secretary-general, at the behest of the Australian government.

Today's meeting in Wellington comes amid Australia's drive to place its officials in countries, such as Solomon Isands, Nauru, Fiji, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea, in a bid to improve governance.