Thursday, May 23, 2024

NZ and US announce new $16.4m Pacific connection

Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, has announced further New Zealand cooperation with the United States in the Pacific Islands region through $16.4 million in funding for initiatives in digital connectivity and oceans and fisheries research.

“New Zealand can achieve more in the Pacific if we work together more urgently and intensively with partners who share our values and our assessment of the strategic challenges facing the region,” Mr Peters says. 

“The United States is one of our most important strategic partners in the Pacific, alongside Australia, Japan and European countries. We can achieve much more with and for the Pacific together than we can separately.” 

Mr Peters, currently in Washington DC, discussed two practical projects in the Pacific with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (pictured), indicating that New Zealand would join the United States in financially supporting them.   

They are: 

  • $8.2 million (US$5m) to support digital connectivity in Tuvalu, through the Pacific Connect Cable; and 
  • $8.2 million (US$5m) to support the construction of an oceans and fisheries research vessel for the Pacific Community. 

“The Pacific Connect Cable, which is receiving funding from the United States, Australia and Japan, will boost the digital connectivity of a range of Pacific Island countries,” Mr Peters says. 

“New Zealand is pleased to contribute US$5 million, at the request of Tuvalu, to deliver improved internet connectivity to the small, low-lying Pacific country.”   

“The oceans and fisheries research vessel will deliver vital information to Pacific Island countries to help them better and more sustainably manage their valuable fisheries resources and safeguard their oceans,” Mr Peters says.   

He said New Zealand was pleased to join the United States in contributing US$5 million for the construction of this vessel for the Pacific Community, for the benefit of all Pacific Island countries and territories.

“Australia is the other major funder of this initiative. This is a great example of trilateral cooperation by Australia, New Zealand, and the United States in the Pacific.”   

While in Washington DC, Mr Peters also discussed broader collaboration with the United States in the Pacific, a region where both countries share deep and longstanding ties. 

“New Zealand welcomes our cooperation with the United States in the Pacific including as members of the Partners in the Blue Pacific (PBP).” 

“Through the PBP, the United States and New Zealand have championed initiatives that can help deliver on the issues that matter most to the Pacific Islands region,” he said.

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