New Zealand Announces New High Commissioner To Vanuatu

NZ Foreign Affairs Minister: emphasizing importance of post and relations, 'last year, more than 4,000 RSE workers from Vanuatu were in New Zealand – representing about 40% of the total workers in the scheme', 

By Anita Roberts

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, July 20, 2017) – New Zealand’s (NZ) Diplomat, Jonathan Schwass, will become the new High Commissioner to Vanuatu.

Schwass is the Unit Manager of the South East Asia Division at the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Formerly he was Ambassador to Timor-Leste.

New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Gerry Brownie, announced Schwass as Vanuatu’s new High Commissioner this week.

NZ and Vanuatu have close and long-standing ties, Minister Brownie said in a statement to announce this in the Pacific Scoop.

He said: “In the last year, more than 4,000 Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from Vanuatu were in New Zealand – representing about 40 per cent of the total workers in the scheme.

“The RSE scheme has been an enormous success over the last decade and, at an estimated $20 million a year for those 4,000 workers, the earnings have a significant effect on livelihoods in Vanuatu.

“Mr Schwass will lead the delivery of NZ’s Official Development Programme in Vanuatu, helping to oversee $82 million of investment over three years with a focus on tourism, agriculture, renewable energy and education.”

NZ has maintained a resident High Commissioner in Vanuatu since 1987.

NZ and Vanuatu as members of the United Nations and Commonwealth engage closely on regional and multilateral matters with similar interests as climate change, fisheries and energy.

The upgrade of shipping services and poor facilities, as well as the seafront are examples of the significant investment NZ is making in Vanuatu’s sustainable economic development

Schwass will replace Ms Georgina Roberts who took over after Bill Dobbie in 2014.

Commissioner Roberts is still the head of the NZ Diplomatic Mission until Schmass officially takes up office Vanuatu.

Vanuatu Daily Post
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