Pacer Plus a powerful tool for development: NZ High Commissioner

THE New Zealand High Commissioner to Vanuatu says New Zealand is really pleased that Vanuatu has decided to join Pacer Plus.

Jonathan Schwass said they are very much looking forward to seeing the ratification process take place within Vanuatu.

“I know there are still some within government and within parliament who are cautious about its benefits,’’ he said.

“I hope we can remove those doubts in the months ahead. New Zealand does see Pacer Plus as a powerful tool for the continued development of the Pacific. It will allow the Pacific countries to participate more effectively in the global economy, help them to generate growth, help them to increase jobs, help them to build revenues and at the same time it offers quite major assistance through development through aid programs to allow Pacific Countries to develop their own trading systems and processes so they are not disadvantage.

“New Zealand will be working very hard to make sure that the program is a success not only for New Zealand but also for our partner countries throughout the Pacific.

“The details of assistance under the Pacer Plus agreement for New Zealand and Vanuatu are still being negotiated and work through. But we will be able to give you details on that before very long.’’

Meanwhile when he was asked about how he sees China’s aid program in the Pacific and especially Vanuatu apart from what Australia is saying, Mr Schwass said, “I think there is room for many donors in the Pacific.”

“I don’t think any donor can claim to be perfect,’’ he said.

“I think what is important is that donors are open about what they are doing, respectful of the part of the government and as transparent as possible about how they go about the work they can do.

“And they cooperate both with their hosts’ government and also importantly with other donors. I think if we can all do that then there is a basis for a very solid development network in Vanuatu and more widely afield in the Pacific.’’