15 Aug 2013

NZ Foreign Minister to open Solomons airstrip

6:55 am on 15 August 2013

The new airstrip in the western division of Solomon Islands will be officially opened today by New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully.

Mr McCully is on his annual Pacific Mission and arrived in Honiara yesterday after spending time in Papua New Guinea and the autonomous region of Bougainville.

New Zealand has dedicated 20 million US Dollars to projects in Munda and they are nearing completion.

Alex Perrottet reports from Honiara.

"Murray McCully and a selection of New Zealand parliamentarians including previous foreign ministers Phil Goff and Winston Peters met with PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, as well as the President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government John Momis. Mr McCully visited the Buka police operation where New Zealand police are training over one hundred Bougainville police in the auxiliary service. Dr Momis wants more training of the whole police service after rejecting Port Moresby police as people who bash heads together, and said Bougainville was culturally different from the rest of PNG. Mr McCully says the two parties have more in common than they think. He will officially open the Munda airstrip today in the Solomon Islands, and will inspect progress on another runway at Nusatupe. A service road to the airport has also been funded and the runways are soon expected to be welcoming tourists on international flights."