Minister Sio to meet new Vanuatu PM

Associate Foreign Affairs Minister Aupito William Sio travels to Vanuatu today, to meet with the new Government led by Prime Minister Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau and to represent Aotearoa New Zealand at the Pacific Community (SPC) Ministerial Conference being hosted in Port Vila.

Minister Sio will have a number of bilateral meetings with the newly elected Vanuatu Government, including Prime Minister Kalsakau, to discuss resilience and economic recovery, and to visit communities and development projects funded by Aotearoa New Zealand.

“Aotearoa New Zealand and Vanuatu share a close partnership and friendship, and after the disruption caused by COVID-19, this is an opportunity to reconnect kanohi ki te kanohi,” said Aupito William Sio.

“Our countries’ enjoy strong people-to-people connections. Every year, thousands of citizens travel between Vanuatu and Aotearoa New Zealand — for education, tourism, to work as part of the RSE scheme, and on church exchanges.

“This visit is an opportunity to discuss key issues affecting our region, and to underscore Aotearoa New Zealand’s commitment to working with Vanuatu to face these together — tatou, tatou. I look forward to discussing how we can continue to support Vanuatu’s economic recovery through our partnering for resilience strategy, especially around the impacts of climate change.”

The SPC Conference is an opportunity to review the focus and work of SPC in Pacific countries and territories, and its provision of regional services. This year the Conference will also celebrate SPC’s 75th anniversary.

“The SPC is the Pacific’s leading science and technical agency, and an important regional partner for Aotearoa New Zealand.

“Their work in science, knowledge and innovation is critical in supporting Pacific resilience, and covers multiple areas, including agriculture, fisheries, public health, climate change, data and statistics, geo-resources and energy, and human rights, gender and youth,” said Aupito William Sio.