13 Jul 2011

NZ has lifted intensity of assistance in Polynesia, says McCully

9:01 pm on 13 July 2011

New Zealand's Foreign Minister has arrived in Samoa on the second leg of a four-nation tour of Polynesia.

Tonga, Samoa, Cook Islands and Niue make up part of Murray McCully's annual visit to the Pacific region in the run-up to the Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit in Auckland in September.

Annell Husband reports.

"Locals on the road between Faleolo Airport and Apia moved obligingly aside as Mr McCully's official cavalcade wound its way quickly to the town centre for an official reception. Mr McCully says the trip's an opportunity to ensure the region's leaders have ownership of the Forum meeting but also is a chance to formalise New Zealand's bilateral development commitments with the respective governments. He's been at pains to emphasise New Zealand's stepping up of its development proramme in the Pacific, saying that in Polynesia especially it's lifting the intensity of the work. Tomorrow he's sign a joint development commitment with Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. He'll also meet with the Head of State Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi, key government ministers and the leader of the opposition Tautua Samoa party, before a visit to the tsunami-hit southern coast where New Zealand funding has assisted with rebuilding work. In Apia, Annell Husband."