New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Gerry Brownlee in Apia, Samoa for the Forum Leaders meeting
By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – FRIDAY 08 SEPTEMBER 2017: New Zealand is providing a NZ$11.5 million for Pacific states to upgrade their airport security. This was announced by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Gerry Brownlee in Apia earlier today.
“New Zealand is putting together a NZ$11.5 million budget to be made available to the Pacific states to upgrade airport facilities for aviation screening,” said the Minister who is representing New Zealand at the 48th Form Leaders meeting that is drawing to a close in Apia this evening.
He said New Zealand is aware that the Pacific is under resourced hence the move to provide funds to upgrade the Pacific and he said the screening initiatives will not only be for New Zealanders passing through, but there are also those transiting in and out of the Pacific.
Asked to elaborate on what the screening details are, Minister Brownlee said those details will be worked out by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority.
He said it’s a matter for security experts to work out, especially in keeping the international destinations connected.
“You get the top level people to agree, information sharing and bilateral discussion, about individual needs, but under that umbrella, it says that we are on this boat together.
“The nature of security in the region is changing all the time and the danger created is pose to this region, and it is important that we periodically have a look at what our arrangements are and update them,” said the Minister.
He said this is to ensure that no one will use the region for terrorism actions and disrupt Pacific developments.
Asked if there was a possibility that New Zealand will expand her navy ships to the Pacific, he said New Zealand is working at providing as much security given that New Zealand is the entrance to a very large area in this part of the world.
The Minister said New Zealand is a huge gateway to the Pacific and the rest of the world, so she has a responsibility and has to do her bit.
In the issue of terrorists using the Pacific as a hideout, Brownlee said they have no specific information that would lead to immediate concern, but they have been observing events happening in Southern Philippines, and they need to stop that before spreading further East.
Besides terrorism and other threats, the Minister also pointed out that here are also security issues around the economy and fishery protection and other areas.