Sunday 4 February 2024
Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Justin Tkatchenko, says Papua New Guinea and New Zealand share and value deep rich cultures and traditions.
Speaking at the 184th New Zealand National Day (Waitangi Day) celebrations, Minister Tkatchenko said the bilateral relationship of both nations continued to be strengthened since its establishment 48 years ago.
He acknowledged New Zealand’s continued assistance of various projects in sectors including agriculture, rural electrification, trade and development, labour mobility, education and scholarships, other State-Owned Entities and fiscal reforms including support for Bougainville.
“Our increased interactions have become more pronounced with the signing of the Statement of Partnership in 2021, setting out the principles and priorities under which both our countries will cooperate, coordinate and partner in the Medium-Term Development Plan IV.”
Minister Tkatchenko also acknowledges New Zealand’s humanitarian support for Mt. Ulawun volcanic eruption in West New Britain last year, adding, “We value and appreciate among others the Foreign Service training of our Foreign Service Officers by New Zealand and look forward to more educational scholarships and exchanges.”
“PNG also looks forward to diversifying our relations to consider other areas including sports, tourism, mineral and resource sectors, women empowerment programs and cultural exchanges.
“Your continued assistance in these areas will greatly contribute towards achieving self-sustaining rural economies at the grassroots level.”
Minister Tkatchenko said the three main priorities of the government include National Census, Local Level Government Elections and addressing Youth Issues to get them engaged through Technical Vocational Educational Training and Small to Medium Enterprise.
Minister Tkatchenko emphasised PNG’s continued engagement with New Zealand and the Pacific brothers/sisters through the Pacific Islands Forum and other regional bodies, in ensuring the Pacific region is secure strategically, stable economically and sovereign politically.
New Zealand High Commissioner H.E. Mr Peter Zwart said the bilateral partnership with PNG aspires to mutual respect and partnership and stability and prosperity for Papua New Guinea and the region.
“We have long standing Deference Cooperation with movements in both directions. For two decades, New Zealand police have contributed to Bougainville’s peace and development,” he said.
“We have an equally long-standing volunteers program sharing skills and gaining understanding.
“We have invested in access to electricity, enforcing gender equality addressing gender violence, strengthening SOE government reform, child immunisation, growing the fresh produce industry and markets, tackling climate change, supporting peace and development in Bougainville and providing to higher education.”
H.E. Mr Zwart appreciated the Marape-Rosso government’s support and looks forward to working with Minister Tkatchenko in continuing the diplomatic relationship for the long-term benefit of the country and the people of Papua New Guinea.