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McCully to travel to Tonga and Cook Islands

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10 May 2011 Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, is visiting Tonga and the Cook Islands this week to meet with leaders and hold talks on New Zealand's programme of development assistance to the Pacific.

"New Zealand enjoys a strong and friendly friendship with Tonga and a particularly close relationship, underpinned by shared citizenship, with the Cook Islands," Mr McCully said.

"In November last year Tonga held its first election under the reformed electoral and constitutional system. This will be the first visit by a New Zealand Minister since the election of Tongan Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano, and his Cabinet.

"New Zealand has allocated NZ$51 million in bilateral aid funding to support development in Tonga over the last three years. Our aid programme is focused on lifting economic performance, strengthening governance and education.

"In the Cook Islands I will participate in the first New Zealand-Cook Islands Joint Ministerial Forum."

"These talks between Cook Islands and New Zealand will be held annually and represent an excellent opportunity for high-level, political talks about the shape and direction of the relationship between our two countries and other issues of mutual interest.

"New Zealand's development assistance to Cook Islands is aimed at generating economic development, investing in people through quality education, improving governance and supporting recovery from natural disasters. With steady increases annually, New Zealand's allocated aid budget to the Cook Islands has totalled NZ$45 million in the last three years," Mr McCully said.


Hon Murray McCully will be in Tonga 10 and 11 May, and Cook Islands 13 and 15 May.

ENDS

Issued by the: Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Murray McCully, c/0 New Zealand High Commission, Nuku'alofa, 2011.

Last Updated ( Friday, 22 July 2011 23:53 )  

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