22 Oct 2005

New Zealand PM off to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands

8:24 am on 22 October 2005

The New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark, flies to Papua New Guinea today for a week-long visit, with the Pacific Islands Forum summit the main event.

Miss Clark will also visit Solomon Islands which has been at the centre of a two-year regional effort to improve conditions.

Her new foreign minister, Winston Peters, who wants to focus on South Pacific affairs, won't be joining her in Papua New Guinea.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"Miss Clark will spend one night in Port Moresby before a pre-Forum one-day trip to Honiara to check on the progress being made by the Australian-led RAMSI mission. The Forum will discuss the major blueprint for regional co-operation, known as the Pacific Plan, which is an initiative pushed by Miss Clark but widely seen as in need of further consideration. Travelling with her from Wellington will be the outgoing chair, Samoa's prime minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, and Oscar Temaru of French Polynesia whose bid for full Forum membership is to be accommodated by making it an associate member."