18 Aug 2003

New Forum Secretary General says experience won him the job

10:51 am on 18 August 2003

The new Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Greg Urwin says his 30 years of involvement in the region is the key factor in his winning the job.

Mr Urwin was named to take over the post by Pacific leaders at the Forum summit in Auckland at the weekend after an unprecedented secret ballot.

There had been criticism of Australia in the lead up to the meeting for nominating Mr Urwin with some saying the interests of the Pacific would be best served by a Secretary General from the island countries.

The Chairperson of the Forum, New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark, says he got the job because he was the exceptional candidate.

Mr Urwin says his long experience in the Pacific was the main factor.

"It has enabled me to get to know, in many cases on a close personal basis, a great number of people in the region. I love being there. It is my life's work. I'm personally strongly connected through my own family."