18 Oct 2006

NZ backs Urwin for another term as Forum secretary general

8:03 pm on 18 October 2006

The secretary-general of the Forum Secretariat, Greg Urwin, is being supported by New Zealand in his bid to continue in the post for a second term.

This follows reports that the Melanesian countries have asked Fiji to nominate another candidate for the position which will be decided on by the Forum leaders when they meet next week at their annual summit.

The New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark, says she has immense respect for Mr Urwin because he has done an excellent job in getting the Pacific Plan into place.

She says she would be most concerned if political manoeuvring were to threaten him doing that job.

"He was the first secretary-general of the Forum not to come from a Pacific Island nation but he has done a very good job. He's been a career specialist in the Pacific and I really think, having worked with him very closely, in the drawing up of the Pacific Plan and on many other issues, that he's done an excellent job."

The New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark.