14 Feb 2004

Forum report suggests setting up EU-type grouping to pool resources

8:35 am on 14 February 2004

South Pacific island states are investigating setting up a European Union-like grouping to help pool their resources.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark says "a vision for the Pacific for the 21st century" is emerging from the Pacific Plan report, issued by a panel of experts set up last November.

The group began a three-day meeting in Wellington yesterday to finalise their initial report to the Forum's 16 heads of government.

The forum's new secretary-general, Greg Urwin, describes the proposals as "groundbreaking."

Helen Clark says pressing issues like good governance, transparency, anti-terrorism and security co-operation are all covered in the report, along with environment and waste.