Foreign Affairs Minister, Nanaia Mahuta has wrapped up her first official visit to Papua New Guinea, reinforcing Aotearoa New Zealand’s commitment to social and economic resilience in the region.
During the visit, the Minister met Prime Minister, James Marape and held her first in-person ministerial dialogue with Foreign Minister, Justin Tkatchenko.
“Aotearoa New Zealand’s relationship with Papua New Guinea is an important one, and meeting the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister was a valuable opportunity to demonstrate the significance we attach to broad and deep ties,” Ms Mahuta said.
“Our discussions covered a range of issues including education and scholarships, labour mobility, New Zealand’s support to Papua New Guinea’s electrification sector, and fresh produce markets and producers.
“We also reflected on significant Pacific priorities, such as climate change and regional security, and the way we collectively meet security needs under the Boe and Biketawa Declarations. These agreements bind us as Pacific Island Forum members and unify our common interest in a stable and secure Te-Moana-nui-a-Kiwa.”
The Minister also travelled to the Western Highlands Province, visiting a rural community which receives assistance from the Mission Aviation Fellowship, one of New Zealand’s humanitarian partnerships, and visited an agriculture project which has developed into a successful commercial enterprise following foundational support from New Zealand.
“As we continue to reconnect, I look forward to seeing our Pacific whanaunga return to our shores. Aotearoa New Zealand will shortly welcome workers from Papua New Guinea under the Recognised Seasonal Employers scheme – the first cohort to travel to our shores since the disruptions of COVID-19.”
“It is clear that our strong people-to-people connections are critical throughout the Pacific. This is seen through our shared whakapapa and aspirations for our region,” she said.
The Foreign Minister returns to New Zealand later today.