Richard Butler | RNZ | Feb 27, 2019
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters is leading a New Zealand government delegation on a Pacific regional visit this week.
The New Zealand delegation is travelling to Fiji, Tuvalu, and Kiribati.
“This visit is a further reflection of New Zealand’s energized approach to the region as part of our Pacific Reset policy. New Zealand is committed to building deeper partnerships with our Pacific neighbors,” says Peters.
“In each country we are likely to discuss policy areas of mutual interest spanning from climate change, development co-ordination, and the building of deeper partnerships.”
As Foreign Minister, Peters has presided over a funding boost of approximately $1bil over four years for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).
The funds will go towards international aid, extra diplomats and the reopening of New Zealand’s Sweden embassy, which was closed under the previous National government.
The National Party leader, Simon Bridges, has sharply criticised the funding, saying New Zealanders would prefer the money was spent on making doctor visits cheaper rather than diplomats.
The delegation includes Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, Associate Minister for Pacific Peoples, Carmel Sepuloni and parliamentarians Poto Williams, Alfred Ngaro, and Darroch Ball.
The group is flying commercially to Fiji but will then travel to Tuvalu and Kiribati on a NZ Defence Force C-130 plane.