Fiame and Vaovasamanaia Sign Renewed Samoa New Zealand Partnership Agreement

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By: Jasmine Netzler-Iose. Samoa’s Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa and New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Vaovasamanaia Winston Peters have renewed the Samoa New Zealand Partnership Agreement.

The signing of the Agreement happened behind closed doors in the Prime Minister of Samoa’s office on Friday morning during the Deputy Prime Minister’s official visit.

NZ’s Minister for the Pacific Peoples Dr Shane Reti and Samoa’s Minister of Public Enterprises Leatinu’u Faumuinā Wayne So’oialo were present at the signing.

The areas of mutual interest involved in this partnership include; climate change, human and economic development, responding to an increasingly complex security environment, in addition reiterating New Zealand’s commitment to supporting Samoa in delivering a successful Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) later this year in October.

“Today, the Deputy Prime Minister and I signed the Samoa New Zealand Partnership Agreement reflecting areas of cooperation we have mutually agreed to for the next 5 years,” announced Fiame.

The renewed Samoa New Zealand Partnership Agreement was signed between PM Fiame and DPM Vaovasamanaia on Friday 9 February 2024.

This agreement covers priority areas from 2024 to 2028 and the last New Zealand – Samoa 0000Statement of Partnership was signed in February 2019.

“As you all know Samoa is hosting the CHOGM meeting in October this year and I wish to acknowledge the significant assistance by the New Zealand Government to assist with our hosting,” she said.

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Fiame says this is ‘reflective of the special relationship under the New Zealand Samoa Treaty of Friendship’.

“Always with these discussions is of course the different programs that we have to assist in capacity building in different sectors in areas that we recognise have significant gaps.”

This is the first formal visit of the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand to Samoa since the election of the new Government last year.

Prime Minister Fiame said it was a great  opportunity to reconnect and renew relations with the new administration and review areas of cooperation.

Vaovasamanaia extended both he and his colleague Minister of Health and the Pacific People Dr Shane Reti’s ‘pleasure and privilege’ in meeting with Prime Minister Fiame.

He said the conversation and agreement sealed this morning was worthwhile and that they have also received an update from 2019.

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But what is significant of the conversation is that the two countries have ‘shared Pacific values’ he adds.

Vaovasamanaia says that NZ looked forward to the CHOGM and will make an impression upon the Commonwealth. He stressed that in regards to the agreement there is a lot of work that will need to be done today and into the future.

Vaovasamanaia oted some areas that will be covered under the agreement including the Recognized Seasonal Employer Scheme (RSE) and Immigration.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Pacific People have reaffirmed the important connections between New Zealand and the Pacific.

They have travelled to Tonga and Cook Islands before visiting Samoa.

“This trip is an opportunity for New Zealand to continue to strengthen and progress our bilateral cooperation with Tonga, Cook Islands, and Samoa while supporting each country’s respective development goals.

While in Samoa Vaovasamanaia paid a courtesy call to the Head of State Afioga Tuimalealiifano Va’aleto’a Sualauvi II at his residence at Vailele, met with the Leader of the Opposition Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi at the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) Headquarters at Sogi before taking a tour with his delegation to the National University of Samoa.

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