24 Jan 2012

NZ government sets up caucus committee to promote Pacific issues

11:06 am on 24 January 2012

New Zealand's Minister of Pacific Island Affairs is setting up a new caucus committee to promote Pacific issues among government MPs and to Cabinet.

The move by Hekia Parata is a first for her National party and comes amid criticism from Pacific communities in New Zealand of the appointment of a non-Pacific MP as minister.

Hekia Parata says National's two Pacific MPs Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga and Alfred Ngaro will be key members of the new Pacifica caucus committee.

She says the caucus committee will get more National MPs involved with Pacific issues and they'll be drawing up a plan to show the government's wider commitment to Pacific communities.

Hekia Parata says she understands why Pacific communities are upset and it raises the bar for her to perform as minister.