New Zealand Minister visits

New Zealand Minister of Civil Defence Kris Faafoi visited the National Emergency Operating Centre (N.E.O.C.) in Tuanaimato upon his arrival in Samoa yesterday afternoon.

Together with the C.E.O. of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ulu Bismarck Crawley and the New Zealand Acting High Commissioner, Nick Hurley, Mr. Faafoi was taken through a presentation by Ulu on the center’s recent activities and the highlights before he met on duty staff.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Mr. Faafoi said that it was good to meet their Samoan counterparts on this trip and that New Zealand government will look at ways to assist N.E.O.C. with capacity building, particularly between their weather agencies.

“I understand their responsibility when the rain is coming down and another big event happens. To know that we got a strong relationship with them already, through Shane Valley, who is assisting here but we want to see how we can deepen that."

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“We had a quick chat about weather forecasting, things that we may be able to do more of in the future to make sure that we can look after the communities here as we look to do things like this in New Zealand as well,” he said. 

New Zealand’s Minister of Civil Defence said that they have a good relationship with their Ministry colleagues in Samoa, and reiterated their governments objective to strengthen their ties again to the Pacific Islands, as part of the Pacific Reset Policy, which the Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters announced earlier this year.

“I think Samoa and New Zealand have been through some pretty big events, our ability to work with agencies to increase their capacity and assist where we can, with resilience of communities is all good work, as we take our responsibilities seriously in the Pacific.”

“It’s nice to come and see and meet the troops here, this is the equivalent of a civil defence greet in New Zealand and it’s always nice to meet the troops who are doing the work when things happen,” he added. 

Mr Faafoi will depart for Tokelau this morning on HMNZS Otago, which is in the region as part of Operation Calypso – a five-month mission comprising resource and border protection and defence diplomacy – on top of supporting wider New Zealand government initiatives.

Mr Faafoi said good governance in Tokelau is crucial to building stronger partnerships between New Zealand, Samoa and Tokelau and it is one of the main messages they will be taking to Tokelau. 

“Traditionally Samoa is the gateway to get to Tokelau, we are concerned about making sure infrastructure-wise, that we got good transportation there. A lot of that deepening relationship actually relies on good governance in Tokelau as well and that’s one of the main messages we will be having a talk to the leaders in the three atolls in Tokelau about – solid decisions for the future and strong partnerships with the likes of New Zealand and Samoa in the future.”

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