Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni will lead a delegation to the Cook Islands today to attend the 52nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Retreat.
Minister Sepuloni will be accompanied by government-elect representative National MP Gerry Brownlee.
Prime Minister elect Christopher Luxon is not travelling due to ongoing coalition talks with political parties ACT and NZ First in the hopes of forming a new government.
According to reports, Prime Ministers from Solomon Islands Manasseh Sogavare, Vanuatu’s Charlot Salwai and Papua New Guinea PM James Marape are also not in attendance.
A key focus of this Leaders’ Retreat will be to endorse the implementation plan for the Forum’s 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent. This year’s theme is “Our Voices, Our Choices, Our Pacific Way: Promote, Partner, Prosper.”
Minister Sepuloni says, “regardless of who is in Government, Aotearoa New Zealand’s relationship with our Pacific whānau is long-standing and vital. ”
“Aotearoa New Zealand strongly supports the implementation of the Strategy, which is the collective roadmap to achieve the common goals of peace, security, and prosperity in, and for, the Pacific,” said Carmel Sepuloni.
During the delegation’s three day trip in the Cook Islands, Carmel Sepuloni and Gerry Brownlee will hold a joint meeting with Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown and participate in elements of the broader Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Week programme.
The delegation will return on Friday.