2 Jul 2009

NZ's prime minister to lead delegation to four Pacific countries

11:27 am on 2 July 2009

The New Zealand Prime Minister will visit four Pacific countries next week, accompanied by a large delegation of MPs, mayors and sports representatives.

John Key will visit Tonga, Samoa, the Cook Islands and Niue.

He says the impact of the global economic crisis on these countries will be raised.

The delegation includes the former All Blacks Michael Jones and Va-aiga Tuigamala, who both came out in support of his National Party during last year's election campaign.

Mr Key says it's a good opportunity to take a wide range of people.

"We wanted to take a good will mission, we thought once we would take a plane, it was better to take a larger group and we've got church leaders, we've got business leaders, sporting delegation and we've got a big contigent of media. It just seem to be good value for money as we had decided to take the plane and if we didn't take the airforce plane, we couldn't cover four countries in four days."

John Key says non-parliamentary members of the delegation will pay their own way.