25 Aug 2008

NZ Prime Minister pleased with Pacific Plan progress

11:10 am on 25 August 2008

The New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark says she is feeling pretty positive about progress on the Pacific Plan for regional co-operation and development, first mooted five years ago at the Pacific Islands Forum summit in Auckland.

There has been criticism of the Plan that there has been too much talking and not enough action; that some governments are not as committed as they could be, and concerns about the capacity within countries to implement the programmes.

The Plan has also been described as too much a top down document, and too closely identified with the wishes of Australia and New Zealand.

But Helen Clark says in fact a tremendous amount is happening.

"Obviously more in some areas than others, because some areas were highlighted for early attention. If you look at the aviation area, cooperation around the Pacific Safety Organisation, there's practical things that are happening. They are looking at pooling ideas on finding solutions to a lot of problems, which can then be applied to each countries national development plan."