1 Oct 2012

Queries over secrecy surrounding planned sale of Pacific shipping service

4:13 pm on 1 October 2012

New Zealand's opposition foreign affairs spokesperson, Phil Goff, wants to know why negotiations for the sale of the Pacific Forum Line have been done in secrecy and without public consultation.

The Pacific Forum Line is required to offer economic development in the region, ensure regular shipping services and to contain freight prices.

The company has 12 shareholders from different governments in the Pacific with New Zealand, Fiji and Papua New Guinea holding three quarters of the shares.

Phil Goff says he believes there was a meeting a week ago in Tonga, and another in Fiji this coming week to finalise plans to sell the PFL to New Zealand company, Sofrana.

He says he wants to know why this is not being done in an up-front and honest way.

"No guarantee has been offered, that without the Pacific Forum Line there would still be viable shipping services provided to small island nations, those are things that need to be in the public arena, and those are the sort of assurances that need to be put up before we could accept that this line should be sold."

Phil Goff says he believes New Zealand, Fiji and Papua New Guinea are the main countries behind the push to sell.