12 Jul 2011

New Zealand foreign minister embarks on pre-Forum Polynesia tour

10:45 am on 12 July 2011

The New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully, has left for a four-nation Polynesian tour as part of preparations of the Pacific Islands Forum in Auckland in September.

The minister's 70-strong delegation will visit Tonga, Samoa, the Cook Islands and Niue before returning to New Zealand on Saturday.

The tour is also tied to the Rugby World Cup which will open with a match between New Zealand and Tonga after the Forum's conclusion.

With New Zealand assuming the Forum chairmanship this year, Mr McCully visited Vanuatu and Solomon Islands last month to discuss matters pertaining to the agenda of the Forum which will this year mark its 40th anniversary.

A planned visit to Papua New Guinea was called off after the acting prime minister, Sam Abal, sacked the foreign minister, Don Polye.