27 May 2005

New Zealand sending senior policeman to PNG to resolve issues keeping team out of Bougainville.

6:32 pm on 27 May 2005

The New Zealand police pulled out of the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville last week are not likely to go back there in the near future, if at all.

The New Zealand High Commissioner in Port Moresby, Laurie Markes, says the police were removed from the province for two reasons.

These were a threat to their security and the realisation that the court decision denying Australian police immunity from prosecution under PNG law may impact on the New Zealanders.

Police headquarters in Wellington is sending a senior officer to Port Moresby next week to try and resolve the issues and Mr Markes says any decision on whether the team will be sent back will be made by Commissioner Rob Robinson.

"His concerns are obviously the welfare and safety of his officers, but it is our intention to do everything in our power to assist police in getting these issues resolved so the team can get back and resume its training role."