(GOVT. PRESS SECRETARY); Bi-lateral talks between the Governments of Samoa and New Zealand in Wellington this week ended yesterday on a high note, says Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi.
In an exclusive interview with the Auckland based Radio Samoa, Tuilaepa says that he and the New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Vaovasamanaia Winston Peters has signed a new Partnership Agreement at the end of the talks.
“The Partnership Agreement follows on from the Pacific Reset theme and underpinned by the Treaty of Friendship, New Zealand has with Samoa and the recognition of the seniority of the Samoan Prime Minister in the region, and the progressive and stable Government of Samoa in the Pacific region,” says New Zealand’s Pacific Peoples Minister, Aupito Sua William Sio who attended the talks.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa in the meantime told Radio Samoa that the talks covered a range of issues which included revisiting the 1962 Treaty of Friendship between the two countries.
Among the issues on the negotiating table includes;
- Apia Waterfront Project
- New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employees Program.
On Education, the Prime Minister says that Samoa’s request includes a change of policies to criteria’s in the selection of local students eligible for New Zealand funded scholarships.
It also covered grant funding from Wellington for Samoa’s Education Sector. And Vaovasamanaia on behalf of his government is receptive to Samoa’s request for reconsideration of some of policies and regulations governing New Zealand’s Funding for Samoa’s Education Sector, says Tuilaepa.
For the RSE program which Samoa has been a recipient for the last 12 consecutive years along with nine other neighbouring Pacific Island countries, Prime Minister Tuilaepa is not giving up on his quest for an increase in the annual quota of 11,000 Pacific Island RSE workers.
Overall, says the Prime Minister the exchange has accomplished its goals and he looks forward to beneficial outcome for the country.
Tuilaepa at the invitation of the New Zealand Government attended the Waitangi Day festivities in Wellington. It’s the first time that Samoa has been invited to participate.
The following is a post by New Zealand’s Pacific Peoples Minister, Aupito Sua William Sio at the completion of the New Zealand Samoa talks.
It is reprinted verbatim;
By Aupito Sua William Sio
Our Pacific Caucus farewell the Samoan Prime Minister and his delegation from Waitangi, after reaffirming the close relationship New Zealand has with Samoa.
A new Partnership Agreement was signed between Vaovasamanaia Winston Peters and Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi outlining a 4 year focus on issues of mutual benefit. This Partnership Agreement follows on from the Pacific Reset theme and is underpinned by the Treaty of Friendship, New Zealand has with Samoa, and the recognition of the seniority of the Samoan PM in the region, and the progressive and stable Government of Samoa in the Pacific region.
This was the first time the Samoan Government has been invited to Waitangi.
The Ngapuhi leaders invited him to offer a prayer at the Waitangi service, in which in the Samoan version of his prayer he referred to the Ngapuhi lands “Ole Malae o Waitangi, ole Malae o Fa’autugatagi…” In my interpretation a reference to the special nature of “Waitangi Malae” – a gathering meeting place where the whole country can come to seek inspiration for decisions to benefit all of Aotearoa.”