31 Jul 2008

PNG diplomat blames NZ officials for GG's Auckland transit woes

4:24 pm on 31 July 2008

The Papua New Guinea High Commissioner to New Zealand, Bernard Narakobi, says New Zealand foreign affairs officials are to blame for the PNG Governor General not being welcomed at Auckland airport this week.

Sir Paulias Matane was overnighting in Auckland en route to Tonga for the coronation of King George Tupou 5th.

Mr Narakobi says the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade was advised by his office but Sir Paulias was very upset when he was not met by the protocol people and was forced to go through Customs.

"The New Zealand Government officials they were the ones that had the responsibility to provide a car and meet the Governor General, not Papua New Guinea. This is not my country and I don't inform or instruct New Zealand Government officials on what to do."

Mr Narakobi says he has received an apology from the chief of protocol who said that on Tuesday they had had to cater for a number of VIPs passing through the airport on the way to Tonga.