Two weeks after Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare had called on Australia to issue Solomon Islanders with visa on arrival just as Solomons now do to Australians, Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele has echoed the same message to New Zealand tonight during Waitangi celebrations in Honiara.
Manele used the opportunity tonight to call for ease of visa for Solomon Islanders travelling to New Zealand.
“Solomon Islands provide concessional visa for New Zealanders whenever they want to visit the country. Visa is granted on arrival. On this, we would want similar reciprocal arrangements in place as well. This to allow Solomon Islanders to visit their families, friends and travel as tourists to visit New Zealand as well without having to wait for weeks or even months for visa. High Commissioner, I hope our two countries can work out an arrangement to allow for that to occur. If that is to occur, this would elevate our relations to a new height,” he said.
Meanwhile Manele said: “As Pacific neighbours in our Blue Pacific, we work closely with New Zealand on issues of interest and that are dear to us in the region.“
He said for Solomon Islands, climate change is more than just an environmental issue.
“It has a human face to it and is now creating an uncertain future for the region given the low commitments from industrial countries in taking stronger climate action.
„The Paris Agreement must be implemented and honoured. In this connection, I note New Zealand government’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 0 by 2050. Having said this, Solomon Islands is mindful that science is telling us that by 2030 global temperature will increase to 1.5 degrees. Beyond 1.5 degree Celcius Islands states are condermned to deal with growing irreversial damage to our ocean, islands and life as we know it. More needs to be done by the world to ensure we do not overshoot the 1.5 degrees Celius temperature and condermn Islands countries to sink. There is sufficient technology, funds and capacity to turn things around,“ he said.
Waitangi Day was celebrated in Honiara tonight.
Waitangi Day, the national day of New Zealand, marks the anniversary of the initial signing – on 6 February 1840 – of the Treaty of Waitangi, which is regarded as the founding document of the nation.
New Zealand High Commissioner Georgina Roberts hosted the function which was attended by ministers, senior government officials, diplomats and reps from the business community.