11 Feb 2005

New Zealand's not been contacted by Vanuatu about providing a new police chief

5:23 pm on 11 February 2005

The New Zealand Government says Vanuatu has made no request for it to provide and pay for a new police commissioner.

The Vanuatu Government has decided to offer the job to a foreigner for a two year period, saying none of its officers is suitable for the position.

The call comes as Australia increases its policing commitment in Papua New Guinea, while it also provides the commissioner in Fiji and is the main supplier of personnel to the Solomon Islands Regional Assistance Mission.

It is also providing policing help to Nauru.

New Zealand and Australia have sent advisors to the Vanuatu police and judiciary in recent years, and the previous Vanuatu government accused both countries of interference in its internal affairs.

A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs official says Vanuatu has made no approach to it over the plan to seek its new police chief from overseas.

The official would not speculate on what New Zealand's response would be if it were approached.