Home News PM MANELE HAILS NZ’S SUPPORT

PM MANELE HAILS NZ’S SUPPORT

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Solomon Islands and New Zealand’s bilateral relationship has taken a leap forward with the New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters arrival over the weekend to congratulate Prime Minister Honorable Jeremiah Manele MP on the latter’s elevation as the Prime Minister in the 12th parliament.

NZ Deputy PM also brought with him the Minister for Pacific Peoples and Health, Honorable Shane Reti, Minister of Climate Change, Honorable Simon Watts, Chair of the Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee, Honorable Tim Van de Molen, and Deputy Secretary Pacific, Mrs. Bernadette Cavanagh.

On the other hand, PM Manele was joined by Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Peter S. Agovaka and External Trade and his Permanent Secretary Colin Beck, Minister of National Planning and Development Coordination, Hon. Rexon Ramofafia, Secretary to Prime Minister and deputy Secretary to Prime Minister.

Amongst many matters of mutual interests, NZ DPM Peters assured Prime Minister Manele that New Zealand will continue to support Solomon Islands in areas of interest to both countries.

In reciprocation, Prime Minister Honorable Jeremiah Manele MP, acknowledged New Zealand’s support to Solomon Islands.

PM Manele acknowledged New Zealand’s support to Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) in terms of logistic support, stating that the assistance had contributed immensely to the smooth running of the first ever joint national, provincial and HCC elections.

The Prime Minister also acknowledged New Zealand’s ‘election observers’ who were here to observe the election process stating that this is crucial to ensure the credibility of this important democratic undertaking.

PM Manele also acknowledged New Zealand’s assistance of SBD15 million towards the 17th Pacific Games and provision of a vehicle which was used to transport athletes with special needs. In addition, he also thanked the deputy Prime Minister for New Zealand’s support to the security of the Pacific games through the Solomon International Assistance Force.

PM Manele used the occasion to inform New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister of one of the priorities of his government which is to boost the number of Royal Solomon Islands Police Force members to 5000 by 2030. For now, the national government is working on increasing the force from its current 1,500 to 3,000 within the next three years.

On the development front, Prime Minister Jeremiah Manele thanked the New Zealand government for the budget support of SBD15 million grant under the Joint Policy Reform Group program.

The Prime Minister also acknowledged New Zealand’s on- going development assistances which ranked Solomon Islands as one of the largest recipients of NZODA under the Program Budget for the Triennium 1st July 2021 to 30 June 2024. The national government looks forward to the next Triennium from 1 July to 30 June 2027. He also welcomed the plans to review and strengthen the Statement of Partnership which will outline the ‘development and economic cooperation framework’ between the two countries.

In terms of immigration, Prime Minister Jeremiah Manele requested that the New Zealand government to consider reciprocal visa for Solomon Islands passport holders whereby the latter can travel to New Zealand and visa granted on arrival.

PM Manele acknowledged the on- going support by New Zealand on the upgrading of Provincial airport infrastructures, which enables connectivity and will provide a much-needed boost to the tourism sector and economy as a whole. PM Manele informed the visiting NZ government delegation that Seghe airport in Western Province will be opened in July this year.

The Prime Minister also acknowledged New Zealand’s hosting of Solomon Islanders under the Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme. Adding that the RSE has contributed to the socioeconomic development of the country.

PM Manele specifically requested that the current cap to RSE workers be lifted to allow for more Solomon Islanders to work in New Zealand as currently the number of workers stands merely at 1075 compared to 6,000 mobility workers in Australia.

The Prime Minister reaffirmed and reiterated Solomon Islands support New Zealand on matters of mutual interest at the regional level and to continue to foster unity and solidarity within the Pacific family.

  • issued by OPMC Press

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