3 Oct 2009

John Key's Samoa visit "symbolic gesture"

8:47 am on 3 October 2009

The Foreign Minister says a visit by the Prime Minister, John Key, to survey tsunami stricken Samoa will be a symbolic gesture of the friendship between the two countries.

Murray McCully returned from the island this morning, along with 14 New Zealanders injured in Wednesday's disaster.

Mr Key is due to visit Samoa today to meet the prime minister there, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielelagaoi.

Mr McCully says the visit is important.

"It's going to mean a good deal to them. He wants to convey the solidarity and support of the New Zealand people. Prime Minister Tuilaepa I know wants to hear that from him. I met with the Prime Minister up there. I think that it will be symbolic of the frienship that we have, and of the support they can expect from us."

Murray McCully says the relief and emergency aid stage will be over in several days, when the reconstruction phase will take over.