Fiji and New Zealand have reaffirmed commitments to further enhance bilateral relations and to work together on issues of common interest.
This was agreed in a bilateral meeting between Fiji’s Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Honourable Sitiveni Rabuka and New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Honourable Nanaia Mahuta in Nadi today.
Underpinning Fiji and Aotearoa New Zealand’s cordial relationship is the “Duavata Partnership” which helps shape how the two countries support each other in specific areas such as climate change, security and sustainable economic development, among other important political and socio-economic issues.
Prime Minister Rabuka said he was pleased to meet Minister Mahuta, at the same time, thanked her for visiting our shores this week. The visit symbolises the warm relations and strengthened collaboration between Fiji and New Zealand.
Providing an overview of his meeting with Minister Mahuta, Prime Minister Rabuka said; “I am grateful for the timely discussions we had on advancing Fiji’s relations with New Zealand on issues of importance to both nations and the Pacific region”.
“On behalf of the Government and the people of Fiji, I convey my heartfelt appreciation to New Zealand for its continued support, which also includes finance for climate action initiatives and general budget support, which has been announced today.
“This timely assistance demonstrates New Zealand’s unwavering support and commitment towards Fiji’s national priorities,” Prime Minister Rabuka said.
He thanked the Government and the people of New Zealand for the support provided to Fiji over the years.
“Fiji and New Zealand are traditional partners, our friendship and cooperation continues to grow from strength to strength.
“We are more resolved now, than ever to build a sustainable and stronger future for our people in Fiji, New Zealand, the Pacific and beyond,” Prime Minister Rabuka said.
Nanaia Mahuta said, “In a meeting with Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka we discussed our countries’ areas of joint ambition; both in terms of our direct country-to-country cooperation, and as a unified Pacific whanau.
“Aotearoa New Zealand is demonstrating our whanaungatanga, by allocating NZ$20 million in flexible climate finance to support Fiji to deliver on its own climate change priorities; an allocation that will assist in building — and strengthening — Fiji’s resilience to the impacts of climate change.”
“New Zealand remains committed to doing its fair share in the global race to tackle climate change by assisting partner countries to protect lives, livelihoods and infrastructure from the impacts of climate change.
“The investment enables us to support clean energy projects in developing countries and provide greater economic resilience to our region, by ensuring buildings are able to withstand more damaging storms, crops are resilient to droughts, floods and new pests, and communities are protected from sea level rise and storm surges,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
Nanaia Mahuta said it was important to Aotearoa New Zealand that Pacific partners were supported to build climate resilience on their own terms.
“We support building climate resilience at home and in our neighbourhood because the economic and people issues climate change presents to our partners have flow on effects for our people to people links and our own economic security.
“This is a central principle in the strategy that guides our climate finance investment: that we act as a genuine partner, in ways that lift ambition and magnify the impact of the action taken,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
The allocation of flexible climate finance for Fiji follows similar allocations of support for Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands. This $20m is a drawdown on the $1.3 billion committed to supporting combatting climate change in the region.
“Across Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa we are used to coming together in times of need. As we look to face the considerable challenges of the climate crisis, collective action will be critical in our approach,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
The meeting was an opportunity for Minister Mahuta to personally thank Prime Minister Rabuka for the valuable support Fiji provided through the deployment of 34 Fijian defence and emergency personnel to assist recovery efforts, in Aotearoa New Zealand, following the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle.
As well as the climate finance commitment, Aotearoa New Zealand is allocating an additional NZ$10 million in general budget support, to assist Fiji to deliver on its social and economic development priorities.