NZ announces support for Solomons as it welcomes PM

4:34 pm on 6 June 2018

New Zealand has announced more support for airports in Solomon Islands following the arrival of the country's prime minister Rick Hou.

Mr Hou was welcomed at Government House in Auckland this morning.

Rick Hou, Solomon Islands Prime Minister

Rick Hou, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Photo: RNZ Pacific

The New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced $US1.41 million towards establishing a State Owned Enterprise for airport management in the Solomons, in addition to the $14 million New Zealand has already committed to the Munda airport rebuild, and other regional airport infrastucture.

She also spoke of New Zealand's contribution towards the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, which has now ended, and how New Zealand continues to support community policing work there.

"I also wanted to acknowledge the Pacific Reset and we spoke briefly about that in our bilateral," Ms Ardern said.

"The fact that we see ourselves as members of the Pacific and as such, as family.

"And that there is work for us to do to make sure that we work closely in collaboration with you on projects that really will seek to enhance the lives of Solomon Islanders and the work of the government and work away from an aid donor relationship."

The Recognised Seasonal Employment scheme was brought up with Ms Ardern saying there might be potential to grow the partnership between New Zealand and the Solomons.

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister Rick Hou was keen to see more of his people taking part in the scheme.

600 Solomon Islanders are among the over 11,000 people from several Pacific islands allowed to work on New Zealand's orchards and vineyards.

Mr Hou would like to see the current numbers doubled, and other areas of work allowed.

"This is a scheme that we unfortunately we haven't really taken advantage of," he said.

"But in terms of going forward, we would like to extend perhaps more into semi and skilled sort of areas and I think in terms of hospitality and other trades or sectors, we would like to increase that as well."

Ms Ardern said the RSE arrangement was certainly an area with huge potential for growth.

Mr Hou is scheduled to take part in talks with the New Zealand government and visit Solomon Island communities in Tauranga, Rotorua and Wellington.