NZ Pacific Reset is not to counter China and other emerging powers entering the Pacific, Peters

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister, Winston Peters Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru. Picture: PIFS/Facebook

YAREN, 04 SEPTEMBER 2018 (PACNEWS) – New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister, Winston Peters says its new stepped up ‘Pacific Reset’ policy is not an attempt to counter China’s increasing influence in the Pacific.

Instead, it’s a commitment as a responsible neighbour to assist the development priorities of its Pacific neighbours.

Fronting up to the regional and international media in Nauru today, Minister Peters brushed aside claims that the reset in Pacific policy was a ‘soft power’ attempt to win Pacific nations away from China and other emerging powers entering the Pacific region.

“We are being a responsible neighbour to the Pacific and acting like a responsible regional partner. It’s not a donor-recipient relationship but we see it as equal partnership.

“We are keen to have a clean and clear partnership with the Pacific, Peters told journalists.

The no nonsense Minister also took a swipe at New Zealand and Australian media for focusing much attention on the refugees on Nauru than on important issues that affect the Pacific region, that are on the leaders agenda.

“We have to respect the culture and sovereignty of the country of Nauru. Instead of focusing on the refugee issue, there are more important issues for the Pacific that you can focus on. This is the meeting of the Pacific Leaders, said Peters.

He said one of the issues that New Zealand will be discussion in bilateral discussion with Leaders is labour mobility, specifically the Regional Seasonal Work Scheme (RSE).

“The current three months may be too short and we may look at 12 months. This is an issue I am discussing with Pacific Island Countries while here.

“There will be a conference in Solomon Islands next month on labour mobility where we will discuss the scheme in detail, Peters told journalists.

At the same press conference, the New Zealand Minister announced a NZ$10 million (US$6.5 million) Pacific broadcasting expansion programme, to support Pacific journalism.

Peters said the new broadcasting programme will introduce enhanced free-to-air Pasifika TV service, affirming New Zealand’s commitment to Pacific media.

“The expanded Pacific Cooperation Broadcasting Ltd service, valued at NZ$10 million over three years, will include a dedicated Pasifika TV channel with New Zealand content, improving both quality and access for free-to-air broadcasters across the region.

The expansion will also include a comprehensive training programme to support broadcasting and journalism across the Pacific, including equipment, internships and cross-regional training.

“The expansion of the Pasifika TV service will dramatically improve the way in which New Zealand content is delivered across the Pacific,” said Minister Peters.

“While the existing service has demonstrated its ability to lift broadcasting and journalism in the region, it is the natural next step to promote the production of more Pacific content, including news and current affairs.

“Informed open conversation, facilitated by the media, is the backbone of transparent governance.  This initiative provides an opportunity to support broadcasters throughout the region to contribute to that debate, said Peters

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