14 May 2004

Phil Goff to lead big NZ delegation on Pacific visit

10:55 am on 14 May 2004

The New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff is expected to lead a large delegation on a three-country visit in the Pacific in early June.

The Kiribati-based Ambassador, John Goodman, says while Mr Goff has made it a tradition to visit several Pacific islands each year, this will mark the first time for such a large delegation of New Zealanders visit the Marshall Islands and Palau in the north Pacific.

Mr Goff is leading a delegation of about 40 New Zealanders that will spend three days each in Palau, the Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands beginning on June 2nd.

The trip, on a New Zealand Air Force jet, will start in Palau.

In addition to high-level political officials, including other members of parliament, there will be groups of business and non-governmental organization representatives numbering between 20 and 30 in the delegation, according to Mr Goodman.

He says the delegation will mirror New Zealand society and is looking for a good exchange of views in each island.

And he says the aim is to broaden and deepen the relationship with each of the island countries, he said."

The business and community leaders from New Zealand are looking to establish links for possible future activities in the islands, he indicated.

Mr Goodman has been in Palau and the Marshall Islands this week, meeting government and business leaders in preparation for the visit next month.