5 Jul 2004

New Zealand sends a representative to Kiribati for 25th anniversary of independence

3:20 pm on 5 July 2004

New Zealand is sending a representative to attend independence day celebrations in Kiribati later this week.

The Associate Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Taito Phillip Field, says New Zealand, as chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, is opening up a welcoming approach to Micronesia.

Taito says it will be a day of celebration for Kiribati's independence and constitution.

"I think the prime minister is familiar with the situation in Kiribati - high concentration of people on a small area, rising sea levels having an effect in terms of contaminated water, and other issues relating to job and educational opportunities, and I think Kiribati has now been included as part of the Pacific Access policy that we have for New Zealand, so it needs assistance and support from Australia and New Zealand."

Taito Phillip Field, New Zealand's Associate Minister of Pacific Island Affairs.