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NZ Foreign Minister grateful for Tongan generosity

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12 May 2011 The New Zealand Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. Murray McCully left Tonga yesterday after holding bilateral talks with Government leaders and visiting local projects supported by the NZAid programme.

Mr McCully‟s visit was the first by a New Zealand Minister since the historic electoral and constitutional reforms achieved in Tonga last year.

The Prime Minister of Tonga and Minister for Foreign Affairs Lord Tu‟ivakano welcomed Mr McCully and his delegation for joint discussions in Nuku‟alofa on 10th May, before the group headed for „Eua Island the following morning.

"I am very pleased we had a fruitful bilateral, and that the NZAid programme will continue in Tonga despite the devastations faced by New Zealand [after the recent earthquake disaster] in Christchurch. We are very thankful," said Prime Minister Lord Tu‟ivakano at a special reception held at the New Zealand High Commissioner‟s residence.

Mr McCully acknowledged the "strong and friendly relationship" between the two countries, and highlighted Tonga‟s generosity in the wake of the Christchurch disasters.

"We received a lot of responses from around the world, but nowhere as generous as that from the people of Tonga. Your generosity genuinely touched all those involved in New Zealand," he said.

Mr McCully and his delegation were able to visit major aid projects in „Eua funded by development assistance from New Zealand, including the construction of the island‟s airport runway, installation of several water supply systems in the villages, as well as the upgrade of the local police department under the Tonga Police Development Programme, co-funded with the Australian Government. The team also met with local tourism operators, who benefit from New Zealand assistance targeted specifically at this sector.

"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," stated the Minister.

Bilateral meetings were also held with the Ministers for Public Enterprise, Finance and Labour, Commerce & Industries, as well as Members of Parliament „Akilisi Pohiva, Sitiveni Halapua, Semisi Sika, Mo‟ale Finau, Sangster Saulala, and Semisi Tapueluelu.

The New Zealand delegation left Tonga for the Cook Islands last night 11th May.

ENDS

Issued by the: Prime Minister's Office, Nuku'alofa, 2011. (Photo: Taulava Pulini)


Last Updated ( Monday, 22 October 2012 02:32 )  

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