Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta is currently in the Cook Islands as part of her mission to reconnect with partners across the Pacific. She is currently in Rarotonga, visiting development projects highlighting New Zealand’s commitment to supporting COVID responses throughout the region.
“This visit is an opportunity to engage with Pacific whānaunga and commit to future cooperation,” says Mahuta. “It is a challenging time for the Pacific with ongoing pandemic recovery and the intensifying impacts of climate change. The need to build and support long-term resilience is vital and Aotearoa New Zealand is committed to doing our part.”
During her visit to the Rarotonga Hospital, Nanaia announced additional pandemic support for Pacific Island countries in the form of vaccine boosters, COVID 19 anti-virals, and strengthening the health workforce.
The impact of COVID-19 is still keenly being felt across the world and Nanaia says New Zealand has a “clear focus” in supporting social and economic resilience across the Pacific.
These comments were echoed by Aupito William Sio, saying “Aotearoa New Zealand stands alongside the Pacific.”
The package announced today includes:
- $3.8m for the Polynesian Health Corridors programme continuing COVID-19 support and health workforce strengthening.
- $1.1m contribution to the WHO to increase access to COVID-19 therapeutics in the Pacific
- Access to COVID-19 oral anti-virals for the Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau.
- Provision of second COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine to the Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau.
“It is our responsibility as a Pacific nation to work together with our Pacific partners to strengthen our collective capabilities” says Mahuta.