20 Feb 2017

NZ identifies growth capacity in Solomons

7:32 am on 20 February 2017

New Zealand's foreign minister says the Solomon Islands has significant capacity to grow its fisheries and agriculture sectors.

Murray McCully was in the country last week, where he met with the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to discuss the two countries' relationship once the Regional Assistance Mission ends in July.

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NZ Foreign Minister Murray McCully visited Solomon Islands and PNG last week Photo: Mei Heron

He said fisheries had been identified as an opportunity for significant economic and employment growth for the country, and New Zealand was sponsoring a number of projects.

"If you look at what the contribution has been at the Soltai Tuna Plant, the Tri Marine facility at Noro in the Western Province," Mr McCully said.

"When I first visited there - 500 staff, not working for weeks. Today - it's over 2,000 staff and the place is humming. There are opportunities to replicate that. This is the way to try and bring more of the return into the hands of local people."

Murray McCully said it's important New Zealand contributes to growing the Solomon Islands economy once RAMSI leaves.

He said his country also had a lot of agriculture expertise to offer.

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