Aotearoa New Zealand committed to an enduring partnership with Vanuatu

Foreign Affairs

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta met with Vanuatu Foreign Minister Jotham Napat in Port Vila, today, signing a new Statement of Partnership — Aotearoa New Zealand’s first with Vanuatu.

“The Mauri Statement of Partnership is a joint expression of the values, priorities and principles that will guide the Aotearoa New Zealand–Vanuatu relationship into the future. ‘Mauri’ is a word that denotes life-force in te reo Māori and in a number of ni-Vanuatu languages. This is an apt reflection of the living, growing, and enduring partnership between Aotearoa New Zealand and Vanuatu,” said Nanaia Mahuta.

“Vanuatu greatly values its long-standing and enduring partnership with Aotearoa-New Zealand, one that is succinctly summarised by the Mauri Statement of Partnership signed today. Mauri strongly resonates with the commonalities both our countries share in promoting cultural cohesiveness and well-being of our peoples,”  Jotham Napat said.

During their meeting, the two Ministers enjoyed a wide-ranging discussion on issues of shared importance — and with the visit closely following the devastation caused by Cyclones Judy and Kevin, resilience to the impacts of climate change was top of the agenda.

“Supporting Pacific resilience remains a top priority for Aotearoa New Zealand. I am pleased to announce that the New Zealand Government is committed to funding to a number of projects for Vanuatu, all of which identify practical and effective ways of reducing the vulnerability of communities to the effects of climate change,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

This commitment includes:

  • NZ$12 million to expand the Pacific Insurance and Climate Adaptation Programme rollout in Vanuatu, as well as in other Pacific countries. The Programme has developed novel insurance products that provide people in Pacific communities with immediate cash relief following extreme weather events and natural disasters.
  • NZ$18.5 million for the continuation of Aotearoa New Zealand and Vanuatu’s long-standing Water Sector Partnership. This will enable Vanuatu to continue to address grave threats to the supply of safe water, a challenge which is being exacerbated by climate change. As a direct result of the first phase of this activity, almost 5 percent of Vanuatu’s population now has access to safe drinking water.

Minister Mahuta and Minister Napat also discussed areas where Aotearoa New Zealand could provide further support on climate change, exploring a range of options from providing support for renewable energy on Efate and Tanna, to further building resilience to natural disasters.

“Vanuatu is an important partner for Aotearoa New Zealand. In line with our new Statement of Partnership, it is critical for us to korero openly with each other, to understand our respective priorities, and to be as responsive as we can,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

In addition to the specific climate change funding, Aotearoa New Zealand is allocating NZ$3 million in general budget support to Vanuatu, and NZ$4 million to support the recovery of the Vanuatu tourism sector, with the aim of growing sustainable tourism, post-COVID.

“Aotearoa New Zealand wants to support Pacific countries to determine their development priorities, and the provision of general budget support enables Vanuatu to consider how best to pursue its own goals.

“I am also pleased that we are providing assistance to Vanuatu’s tourism industry — the significance of which has been emphasised to me throughout my visit; Aotearoa New Zealand is committed to Vanuatu as it seeks to revive and future-proof its tourism sector, ” Nanaia Mahuta said.