5 May 2009

NZ Govt trade and aid alignment aims to help Pacific islands, says Trade Minister

9:07 pm on 5 May 2009

The New Zealand Trade Minister says informal discussions this weekend in Auckland with his Pacific Islands counterparts will focus on the economic wellbeing of the island nations.

Tim Groser says this weekend's discussions, which will go ahead without the presence of Fiji, will continue negotiations on New Zealand and Australia's entry into the PACER PLUS agreement, but he says the primary interest is the economic development of the smaller economies.

This comes a week after the New Zealand goverment announced that it would be aligning its trade and aid policies with a greater emphasis on economic development.

Mr Groser says the policy change is a country mile from the claims it's designed to further New Zealand's foreign policy objectives.

"Actually quite the opposite. What we want to try and do is get more effectiveness behind our aid policies so they [island countries] can take advantage of the Australian and the New Zealand markets, which for these tiny economies look like very big opportunities but the reality is they have not been able to fully exploit those opportunities."

Tim Groser