New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Hon Sepuloni concludes visit in Honiara
New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Carmel Sepuloni with her delegation left the country yesterday after a successful two-day visit to Honiara.
Hon. Sepuloni arrived in Honiara on Sunday with her Minister of Climate Change, Hon. James Shaw, Minister for Pacific Peoples, Hon. Barbara Edmonds and a 50-member delegation consisted of officials in the Ministerial, Humanitarian and Economic streams, supporting officials and the media.
The visit is part of their three-country Pacific Mission which aims at strengthening their relations with Pacific Island Countries.
The delegation visited projects supported by New Zealand including the St. Vincent Early Childhood Education Centre at Burns Creek, Amazing Grace Cocoa Farm at Tenaru and the Multi-Purpose Youth Hall in central Honiara.
A part of the delegation also visited Bloody ridge community where the Minister for Climate Change, Hon. Shaw unveiled a plaque to remember the location of the New Zealand Air Force base at Henderson Airfield, during the second world war.
Hon. Sepuloni made courtesy calls to the Prime Minister Mannaseh Sogavare and Governor General Sir. David Vunagi.
She also held a bilateral meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon. Jeremiah Manele, where issues such as the Bina Harbour Tuna Processing Plant (BHTPP) Project, upgrading of provincial Airstrips, and the Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme were discussed.
Hon. Sepuloni also joined local Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers for their pre-departure briefing before leaving the country yesterday morning.
Returning workers shared their experience on how the RSE has benefited them and their families.
The New Zealand government also used the visit to announce further support for Solomon Islands on areas of climate change, the Pacific Games and Youth development.
Speaking to members of the media, Hon. Sepuloni acknowledged its ongoing partnerships with the Solomon Islands and the Pacific.
“New Zealand’s relationship with Solomon Islands is valued, our history goes back a long way and so you are a true partner in the Pacific region.”
“For us as a Pacific country, the Pacific region is our absolute priority, and we want to ensure that our people are thriving in the region, and we want that for everyone,” she said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Jeremiah Manele also thanked the delegation for visiting the country through the mission.
“New Zealand is a valued development partner to Solomon Islands and we truly value and appreciate the relations that we have with New Zealand, and that connection over the years has expanded to many sectors.”
“Our collaboration with New Zealand covers many sectors including education, infrastructure, health, labour mobility and fisheries. We truly appreciate these collaborations, which are covered under our statement of partnership framework,” he said.
Hon. Sepuloni and her delegation will continue with their Pacific Mission to Fiji, and then Tonga before returning to New Zealand.
By Eliza Kukutu