Visa free travel up for discussion

Discussions on visa free travel to New Zealand may be on the table, says Vaovasamanaia Winston Peters. 

The New Zealand Foreign Minister was in Apia recently to attend the one-day Forum Foreign Ministers conference.

In an interview with the Samoa Observer, Vaovasa was asked to comment on why the list of visa waiver countries does not include Samoa, despite the existence of the Treaty of Friendship between Samoa and New Zealand.

He said the issue might be more complex than comparing visa waiver countries to Samoa, but said his government would address concerns if there are any.

“On this issue we are happy to look at any possible concern that might be unfair or prejudiced to one country,” he said.

Earlier this year, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said for now, New Zealand would not be changing the immigration rules.

While the visa requirements could be “annoying”, she said New Zealand offers Samoa other more favorable immigration entry policies like the annual quota scheme, seasonal work visas and specific trade visas.

“Those are the things not every nation has, that Samoa has."

“There are things that are unique to our relationship,” she said. 

Ms Ardern said while countries on the visa waiver list do not have treaties of friendship with New Zealand, they do not have quota or seasonal worker schemes like Samoa.

“There are differences to every relationship that do make them unique,” she added.

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