Vanuatu Prime Minister To Visit New Zealand

  • Jenny Shipley
Prime Minister

Vanuatu Prime Minister Donald Kalpokas Masike-Vanua will visit New Zealand from December 19-22, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley announced today.

Mrs Shipley said New Zealand enjoyed a good relationship with Vanuatu and Mr Kalpokas' visit would provide a timely opportunity to look at ways of consolidating those links.

"Vanuatu and New Zealand have a solid partnership in the South Pacific region. We are both involved in the South Pacific Forum and a range of other regional organisations, and have worked very closely and cooperatively in the peace process on Bouganville," Mrs Shipley said.

The Prime Minister noted that Mr Kalpokas' visit came at a time when Vanuatu was in the midst of a successful programme of economic reform, which New Zealand was supporting through Official Development Assistance.

New Zealand's total development assistance programme for Vanuatu stands at $5.3 million, while solid defence links have also been established under the Mutual Assistance Programme.

During his visit to New Zealand, Mr Kalpokas will be having bilateral meetings with Mrs Shipley and Foreign Minister Don McKinnon, who will also host a luncheon. In addition to official calls, he will discuss trade prospects, meet with economic advisers and tour small business ventures.