13 August, 2004
NZ, Samoa to strengthen Treaty of Friendship
New initiatives to strengthen the relationship between New Zealand and Samoa under the 1962 Treaty of Friendship were announced today by Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, and Foreign Affairs, Phil Goff.
The announcement follows today's release of the government's response to the select committee report on the petition to Parliament on the Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982.
"As expected, the government supports the select committee's recommendation that repeal of the Act would be inappropriate," Mr Goff said.
"The government also upholds the recommendation that the Treaty of Friendship between the two countries should be renewed and strengthened.
"A range of measures was discussed last week between Prime Minister Helen Clark and Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa.
"There was agreement between the two countries to explore and develop a series of initiatives in education, culture, sports and inter-governmental cooperation. This will see already close relations between the two countries further strengthened.
“The initiatives include:
- Regular consultations at official and ministerial levels;
- Staff exchanges in foreign affairs and other ministries;
- Sharing Samoan language educational resources;
- Exploring the development of a teacher exchange programme;
- An annual Prime Ministerial fellowship;
- Post-graduate research scholarships in New Zealand-Samoan relations;
- Cultural exchange programmes such as an artist-in-residence programme;
- A sports development fund to train referees and coaches
"Most importantly, agreement was reached to improve the operation of the current Samoan immigration quota. Difficulties in the management of the scheme have meant a failure to fill the quota in recent years.
"The Minister of Immigration is releasing today a series of operational and administrative changes in the quota that will assist the matching of Samoan quota applicants to job opportunities and enable the quota to be filled.
"These changes will be welcomed both by job applicants in Samoa and employers in New Zealand facing staff shortages," Mr Goff said.
The government's response to the select committee's report will be available, once it is tabled, at www.parliament.govt.nz or from the < hrf=http://www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz/>Office of the Clerk.