9 Aug 2003

NZ foreign minister calls for consensus on new Forum Secretary-General

8:14 am on 9 August 2003

New Zealand's foreign minister, Phil Goff, says the Pacific islands Forum will endeavour to choose a new Secretary-General through consensus.

Australia has upset a number of Forum leaders by putting forward a candidate, against previous conventions.

Mr Goff says Forum leaders should base their decision on who is best for the job.

"Conventions are just that. There are a reason for them. You need to acknowledge why those conventions existed but they are not immutable. They are subject to change. And again, I guess our request would be let's give respect to every candidate that is put forward, and in our decision-making, we will take into account all of the strengths, or the potential problems, with the candidate from any particular country assuming the position of Secretary-General."

Candidates have also been put forward by Samoa, Tonga and Nauru.