It’s the end of the trip labelled the “Pacific Reset”, where the new government’s aim was to build relationships with Pacific leaders in Samoa, Niue, Tonga and the Cook Islands under the leadership of Jacinda Ardern.
It’s a move which would seek to strengthen ties in the knowledge that other foreign influence, like that of China, is prevalent in the region.
The trip has been a success according to Ardern.
“Our relationships here in the Pacific here are key, they’re increasingly important. We need to move to a partnership and that has been incredibly well-received wherever we’ve gone,” says Ardern.
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters agrees, “I’ve been on a lot of Pacific trips and this has been the most successful by a long, long way and every leader and every politician we’ve been to, at least these four, have been seriously appreciative of the new direction we’re taking.”
The government claims they want to move to a partnership status with Pacific states instead of a donor-recipient model.
“Countries in the Pacific are moving to developed nation status- this should be a partnership,” says Ardern.
Peters says, “Pacific reset means a lot of things but above all it means an attitude towards working as partners going into the future not just with them but with others working here as well.”
The delegation flies from the Cook Islands today.