NEW Zealand’s Deputy Secretary, International Development Group within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Wednesday paid a courtesy call to the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
Jonathan King is in Honiara for the high level consultations which was held yesterday morning between the Solomon Islands Government and New Zealand Government on the implementation of ongoing New Zealand bilateral technical assistance work programme for Solomon Islands.
Mr King congratulated Prime Minister Sogavare for his successful election as Prime Minister and briefly touched on the bilateral technical assistance consultative meeting his delegation had with their Solomon Islands Government counterparts.
He said the meeting was ‘very’ successful as discussions were ‘very’ interactive and structured.
Mr King said, the Munda International Airport runway was one of the agendas discussed.
He said there are political processes to work through to see the completion of this project and that the New Zealand Government is keen to understand the Solomon Islands Government’s immediate steps to resolve current challenges to be able to work through them.
Prime Minister Sogavare in turn acknowledged bilateral technical assistance of the New Zealand Government to Solomon Islands and expressed the Democratic Coalition for Change Government’s desire to see Solomon Islands make full use of this assistance. .
He said Solomon Islands challenges are many and the Solomon Islands Government wants to work closely with its development partners including Australia and New Zealand to address them.
The Prime Minister said in the last 10 years, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands has peaked government services very high and the Solomon Islands Government is faced with the challenge of maintaining them at this level after the departure of the intervention mission.
Hon Sogavare also touched on the economic reforms of the Democratic Coalition for Change Government.
“As you know Solomon Islands has a very narrow economic base and my government is working on introducing legislation for the introduction of free economic zones throughout the country. We are taking this aggressive approach in a bid to attract the right kind of foreign investments to improve the economy and the rural sector generally.
The Prime Minister said the Munda International Airport project is very important to the Solomon Islands tourism industry and assured Mr King of the continued support of the Solomon Islands government under the leadership of the Democratic Coalition for Change Government towards this project.
The Prime Minister also spoke on the Democratic Coalition for Change Government’s anti-corruption efforts.
He said Solomon Islands will need a lot of support from its development partners to achieve its objective in establishing an independent anti-corruption body.
Mr King was accompanied on the courtesy visit to the Prime Minister by the New Zealand High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Her Excellency Marion Crawshaw.
– PMO Press Secretariat