29 Sep 2008

Former PNG Prime Minister calls on New Zealand to help create a middle class in Melanesia

8:48 pm on 29 September 2008

Former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, has called on New Zealand to use its aid programme to help foster private enterprise in PNG.

Sir Rabbie is the key note speaker at the Pacific Co-operation Foundation's Tok Talanoa - a symposium now being held in Wellington aiming to develop the understanding New Zealanders have of the Melanesian region .

Sir Rabbie says it is imortant that practical solutions to significant problems facing PNG are found.

He would like to see more of New Zealand's aid assistance to PNG, the rest of Melanesia and the wider Pacific, going towards the development of entrepreneurial skills.

"Because that is the best way to build a middle class that will sustain, that will promote sustainable development in the long term, instead of depending on overseas aid into the future."

Sir Rabbie Namaliu is also suggesting New Zealand could seek to be a dialogue partner to the Melanesian Spearhead Group, and for this country to include PNG in its recognised seasonal employer scheme.