13 Jul 2011

NZ's McCully uses Polynesia tour to ensure Pacific ownership of Forum gathering

6:51 am on 13 July 2011

New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister is using his annual tour of Polynesia to ensure there's Pacific ownership of the September meeting of the leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum in Auckland.

Murray McCully is in Tonga on the first stop of a tour that includes Samoa, the Cook Islands and Niue.

Mr McCully says one of the aims of the trip is to sign development aid agreements, which he says require a degree of reciprocity on the part of the recipient government.

"The second part of the agenda though is really about consultation over the Forum's agenda. We are one of 16 parties that sit down as part of the Forum discussion, the Prime Minister Key is going to be sitting in the chair but we want to make sure that this is a meeting that's owned by Pacific nations, that they're comfortable with the agenda that we're putting forward and that the side events are ones that they're happy to participate in as well."

Murray McCully says Pacific governments are very receptive to New Zealand's refocused approach to aid.