A New Zealand Defence Force and Police deployment to help restore peace and stability to Solomon Islands is being scaled down and extended, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has announced.
The Minister said the initial deployment followed a request for support from Solomon Islands Government after riots broke out in the capital of Honiara late last month. They joined personnel from Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea to support the Royal Solomon Island Police Force in restoring security in Honiara.
“New Zealand has a deep and long-standing partnership with Solomon Islands, and we are very pleased to see that our efforts alongside Solomon Islands police and our wider regional whānau has restored a sense of calm to Honiara,” Minister Mahuta said.
“Most of our personnel have now returned home to Aotearoa, and at the request of the Solomon Islands’ Government, a small team will remain to continue supporting the Royal Solomon Islands Polive Force,” said Defence Minister, Peeni Henare.
Five NZ Defence personnel will remain in Honiara up to 31 March, alongside Australian and Fijian security personnel as part of the Multinational Police Support Group. Four New Zealand Police personnel continue to work alongside the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force as part of our long-standing programme of advisory support.
“Given the request for a longer presence, and through our kotahitanga principle, we will continue to work alongside our Solomon Islands and regional whānau over the next few months as we play our part in upholding regional security and building a more resilient Pacific,” Ms Mahuta said.
Minister Henare said it was vital that New Zealand continued to support Solomon Islands.
“Our small contingent will continue with our work in maintaining stability, engaging with communities and providing assurance to Solomon Islanders,” he said.
Police Minister, Poto Williams reiterated New Zealand’s long-standing Police partnership with Solomon Islands.
“Our personnel will continue our close and long-term work with Royal Solomon Islands Police Force. We have been working with Solomon Islands Police for more than 18 years, and take great pride in this partnership,” she said.
The New Zealand High Commission in Honiara continues to provide SafeTravel advice to New Zealanders in Solomon Islands. Despite the calming of the situation New Zealanders in Solomon Islands should follow the instructions and advice of local authorities and exercise care.