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New Zealand appoints development ambassador to help small island states

Xinhua News Agency:

Thursday, 29 May 2014


New Zealand appoints development ambassador to help small island states

WELLINGTON, May 29 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government on Thursday appointed its first ever Ambassador for Pacific Economic Development charged with helping small island developing states in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Shane Jones, who resigned as a Member of Parliament for the main opposition Labor Party earlier this month, was appointed to signal the government's clear intention to improve economic outcomes in the Pacific and to make a more constructive contribution to economic development, said Foreign Minister Murray McCully.

"New Zealand contributes over 300 million NZ dollars (254.69 million U.S. dollars) in development funding to the Pacific annually and our new ambassador will focus on supporting income generating opportunities for Pacific countries in sectors like tourism, agriculture, horticulture and fisheries," said McCully.

"Last year the Pacific tuna fishery yielded between 4 billion and 5 billion U.S. dollars of fish to international markets, yet less than 10 percent of that amount made its way back to Pacific countries. Clearly, we need to do more to ensure that Pacific countries benefit from the resource they own, and Mr Jones will have a wide ranging brief to work with Pacific leaders in this area."

As a leader in the Pacific Islands Forum, New Zealand needed to play a more active role in encouraging inter-regional cooperation between the Pacific, the Caribbean nations and the states of the Indian Ocean Commission, he said.

The Conference on Small Islands Developing States sponsored by the United Nations in Samoa set for September is an opportunity to take this agenda forward in areas such as oceans and fisheries management, as well as renewable energy and climate change initiatives.

Read story: Xinhua News Agency

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