Solomon’s PM Opens Permanent Mission To New Zealand

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Solomon’s PM Opens Permanent Mission To New Zealand Lilo: Diplomatic presence in Wellington ‘long overdue’

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, March 13, 2014) – Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo on Wednesday officially opened our High Commission office in Wellington, New Zealand.

Speaking during the opening, Mr Lilo said the establishment of the country’s permanent diplomatic mission in New Zealand has been long overdue – and as Prime Minister, he was delighted to see that his Government’s decision to pursue a diplomatic mission in New Zealand has been achieved.

Mr Lilo said the High Commission office in Wellington brings the total overseas missions of the country abroad to 10.

"As many of the Pacific Islands Countries can relate to, hosting a mission abroad is no easy feat and an expensive undertaking – however, it is important we exercise our influence through the physical presence of our Missions in the wider global community," he said.

Prime Minister Lilo added that the primary role of the mission is to serve the interest of Solomon Islands in New Zealand, in the areas of mutual interest as well as to ensure smooth cordial relations between both countries.

"New Zealand is an important development partner in both the Solomon Islands and the region; and she has committed many resources to the development aspirations of the Pacific region," Mr Lilo said.

"Solomon Islands in particular being the largest recipient of NZAID assistance, benefits greatly from New Zealand; therefore, I wish to convey, on behalf of the Government and people of Solomon Islands, our sincere gratitude to the Government and people of New Zealand for your support and assistance over the years.

"Let me assure you that the support you have rendered, continue to make changes in communities and lives in our country," the Prime Minister highlighted.

The Prime Minister added that it is a milestone as the opening is a step forward in the relationship shared between New Zealand and Solomon Islands.

Mr Lilo said interactions between the two countries have also expanded beyond political and diplomatic ties.

"People to people interactions is becoming an important factor of these relations – with many Solomon Islanders traveling to New Zealand for work, study, marriage, as well as taking advantage of opportunities such as the Regional Seasonal Employment Scheme.

"Similarly, the increasing number of New Zealanders traveling to Solomon Islands for work, and holiday continue to increase," he said.

Mr Lilo said last year alone, New Zealanders travelling to Solomon Islands recorded 7% of the total travelers.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister also thanked the indigenous people of New Zealand.

Then, the country’s first female high commissioner Joy Kere thanked Prime Minister Lilo for gracing the occasion.

Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs John Hayes who represented the New Zealand Government welcomed the establishment of the permanent office in Wellington, describing it as a new era in the relationship between the two countries.

Mr Hayes said the New Zealand government looks forward in working with the Solomon Islands government through the new high commission office.

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