21 Mar 2005

Backing for Pacific Plan in public consultations mostly positive - Forum

8:15 pm on 21 March 2005

As public discussions on the Pacific Plan for closer cooperation get underway in New Zealand, the secretary general of the Pacific islands Forum, Greg Urwin, says, so far, there has been very positive support for the idea.

A draft plan is circulating for public consultation in Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tuvalu and Australia, with discussions to start tomorrow in Wellington.

Mr Urwin says there is a great deal of willingness to engage, with people interested particularly in isolating the areas where benefits can be gained if run on a regional basis, and whether the proposed changes would reinforce existing national strategies.

"I think there is a good deal of positive sentiment about what can be done about that, admittedly I think there is also still a bit of feeling, as there inevitably is around the region of, well, let's wait and see what is in this for us - that is to be expected."