12 Dec 2005

Fiji's Labour minister calls for single Pacific bloc

2:45 pm on 12 December 2005

Fiji's Labour minister, Kenneth Zinck, says Pacific Island countries should form a single bloc to create a greater voice in the international arena.

He believes this could result in the region having a stronger presence on issues concerning trade.

Mr Zinck is also calling on Australia and New Zealand to do more over the region's growing unemployment.

He says the two countries could help by allowing unskilled workers in to be employed for three or six months stints on farms.

"At this point in time, I think we need to form a bloc so that we have one voice, that we can also form a solidarity group for the Pacific region, so we can be recognised internationally so our voice can be heard by WTO, etc."

Fiji's Labour minister, Kenneth Zinck.

Pacific Island countries have already called for increased labour mobility in the region when the Pacific Plan was discussed and subsequently adopted in Papua New Guinea.

Australia and New Zealand have said they're prepared to look further into the issue.