2 Jun 2006

NZ foreign minister to visit Vanuatu and Cook Islands

3:17 pm on 2 June 2006

The New Zealand foreign minister, Winston Peters, hopes a group of new MPs he'll take to Vanuatu and the Cook Islands next week will get a better understanding of the problems faced by politicians in those countries.

Mr Peters trip, which will also include business people and members of NGOs, is a continuation of visits his two predecessors undertook to Pacific countries every year.

The Cooks and Vanuatu have seen frequent votes of no confidence, with administrations rarely running for their full term.

Mr Peters says he wants the MPs on the trip to interact with political parties there so the local politicians might have a better idea of how democracy is run, and vice versa.

"Because there are particular and special problems in those countries which we need a better understanding of. There are ways we can help even if it is just improving capacity and the understanding of members of parliament in those countries of the nature of transparent and open democracies."

Winston Peters