PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare has acknowledged the Government and people of New Zealand as an important development partner.
The Prime Minister said Solomon Islands and New Zealand have enjoyed a long, fruitful and mutually beneficial relationship that goes back many decades even before both countries forged diplomatic relations 41 years ago.
He said New Zealand is a Pacific neighbour, a traditional development partner and a permanent friend.
“We share common values such as democracy, rule of law and human rights. We also share the Blue Pacific Ocean and are members of a number of regional and international organisations. We share common interests that we promote, uphold, embrace and cherish for the good of our people and country,” he said.
The Prime Minister said over the years, both countries have enjoyed cordial relations based on mutual respect, dialogue and cooperation.
He said the National Government will continue to maintain close bilateral relations with the New Zealand government to translate the government’s development plans and priorities under the partnership framework.
“We value our relationship and friendship with your country and work to enhance and deepen our bilateral relations further. We look forward to engage constructively with your government and work together for the social and economic development, advancement and betterment of our two countries and its peoples,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare said the opening of the New Zealand Chancery in October last year (2019) marked a milestone in their relationship and symbolises the permanent presence of New Zealand in the country.
“Likewise the establishment of our High Commission in Wellington in 2014 shows our permanent presence in New Zealand and we look forward to deepen our engagement through our Mission,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said he is honored to be part of the Waitangi Day celebrations.
“We are gathered here as a whanau (family) to mark an important day in the history of Aotearoa, New Zealand. The 6th of February is Waitangi Day. This year marked the 180 years since the founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed by the British Crown and the Maori Chiefs,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare said the Treaty of Waitangi not only shaped the course of New Zealand as a country, but a platform for the Maori and the British who first arrived in Aotearoa in 1840, to work and live harmoniously together.