19 Jul 2013

NZ MP believes cohesion in Pacific will reap rewards

1:56 pm on 19 July 2013

An MP representing New Zealand at the Pacific Islands Forum Trade Ministers Meeting in Samoa says it's important countries in the region remain a tight group.

Yesterday, the trade minister of Papua New Guinea told Radio New Zealand International that it had withdrawn from any future discussions on the Forum's PACER Plus trade deal, which aims to create a regional common market.

He said the deal was too weighted in New Zealand and Australia's favour.

Recently, members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group have been taking a more hands-on approach to issues such as trade and regional politics - matters that might once have been more the preserve of the regional body.

But the private secretary for New Zealand Foreign Affairs, John Hayes, says the Forum provides an important overarching structure.

"We're a big region and we have a lot of large ocean states, we're separated by a lot of sea. What I think is really important is that as a region we remain a tight cohesive group because if we don't do that we just split our ability to deliver really good economic rewards for the communities that each of us represent."

The private secretary for New Zealand Foreign Affairs, John Hayes.