Key says NZ and Forum members have good relationship
New Zealand's Prime Minister defends his government's position on climate change and West Papua.
The New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has been welcomed at the 46th Pacific Islands Forum Meeting in Port Moresby.
He has joined most of the region's leaders to discuss pivotal issues affecting the Pacific.
Koro Vaka'uta reports from the Papua New Guinea capital.
Leaders of most of the Forum's 16 member states are present at the summit, but not Fiji's Frank Bainimarama. Mr Bainimarama has repeatedly attacked the influence over the regional organisation held by New Zealand and Australia.
But Prime Minister John Key says despite Mr Bainimarama's concerns, New Zealand's reception has been friendly in Port Moresby.
JOHN KEY: Australia and New Zealand are significant funders and we have a special place for certain reasons, not the least being that Auckland is the largest Pacific city in the world. So, realistically, Frank Bainimarama may or may not have a view on New Zealand and Australia but what I can tell you is talking to the other leaders who are actually at the Forum. They speak very fondly of New Zealand and they have a good relationship with us and they want to engage even more.
Pressure has also been put on the more developed nations of Australia and New Zealand to act with more urgency on climate change, with a number of strongly worded statements on the issue coming out of pre-Forum talks.
Mr Key seems comfortable with New Zealand's position on the matter.
JOHN KEY: You can understand absolutely why countries that are very low-lying, would have concerns about anticipated rises in sea levels and of course that they would do everything they can to advocate for that. New Zealand doesn't look to try and close them down or run away from the targets that we've set or the actions that we've taken. I genuinely believe that we've done the right thing.
Mr Key says he's enjoying meeting with the region's leaders to discuss the big issues.
JOHN KEY: From climate change obviously through to health issues and communications and the like. Fisheries are very important issues and we've been working hard in the time that we've been the government to try and put the economics of the Pacific on the firmest footing that we can. I mean I think that the objective of leaders right across the region is to be able to genuinely provide not only jobs but a higher standing of living for their people.
The 5th big topic on the agenda is the situation in West Papua.
JOHN KEY: New Zealand has had a long-standing position on Papua, where it believes that it's ultimately a matter for Indonesians. We have continued to speak out on all the issues that we see, human rights abuses, but the main issue there really is that ultimately if the people of Papua have a different perspective on the governance relations they really have to take that up with Indonesia.
Earlier New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully said he didn't support calls for a Forum fact-finding mission to be sent to the Indonesian province.
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