Vaovasa's tough message
New Zealand's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Vaovasa Winston Peters, does not mince words.
He believes New Zealand needs to do a better job in terms of helping the Pacific region.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, he stood by his message that Australia and New Zealand’s influence in the Pacific has decreased since China amped up its developmental aid in recent years.
As a result, he said the New Zealand government is looking at their Pacific neighbours with new eyes as they step up to ensure that the Pacific region is doing better for its economy and security.
This was the objective of the high-level New Zealand delegation Pacific mission trip.
Despite the hectic and demanding schedule during their one day visit to Samoa, Vaovasa told the Samoa Observer that it was necessary to the success of their mission.
“However, it’s exciting, it’s different and fascinating," he said.
"So make no bones about it, we have to get the Pacific in every respect doing better for its people for its economy and for security,.
“We in New Zealand are looking with new eyes at all the Pacific neighbours we’ve got. We need to step up from New Zealand as well and do better, that’s what we are here to say.
“There are good influences coming into the Pacific and there are some that are seriously untoward and counterproductive and not in the interest of the Pacific people.
“And I say that as a Pacific person, after all our D.N.A., including Samoa’s, goes all the way from New Zealand and all the way to Hawaii and back 5000 years ago to Taiwan and mainland China.
“We’ve got a connection here and we’ve got to do far more work. I’m trying to warn the business audience. I don’t think everything you see is good just because it’s got money. I want to know what long term is going to do for the wealth and security of the Pacific people.”