01 August 2012
Joint Statement - 50th Anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship between Samoa and New Zealand
Joint Statement issued by the Prime Ministers of Samoa and
New Zealand on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Treaty of
Friendship between Samoa and New Zealand.
Today marks fifty years since the signing of the Treaty of Friendship between Samoa and New Zealand. The visit to Samoa by the New Zealand Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key and his accompanying high-level delegation to celebrate that occasion reflects the special nature of the relationship between our two countries as defined in that Treaty.
The Treaty is a far-sighted document which is as relevant today as it was in 1962.
It recognises the close relationship between Samoa and New Zealand and it continues to frame the way both countries deal with each other on a day-to-day basis. As the Treaty states, we are Governments of sovereign and equal states founded upon respect for fundamental human rights. We want to maintain and strengthen the existing bonds of amity and goodwill and provide for continued cooperation. We consult each other on matters of mutual interest and concern. We continue to work together to promote the well-being of the people of Samoa.
That ongoing close partnership between New Zealand and Samoa is based on friendship, trust, mutual respect, family and historical ties and a shared Polynesian heritage.
Our discussions today are part of the regular exchange of views that characterises the closeness of our two countries. Later this year, the regular Joint Ministerial Consultations (JMC) will take place in Wellington when Prime Minister Tuilaepa makes his official visit to New Zealand to mark the 50th anniversary of independence and the Treaty of Friendship.
The relationship between Samoa and New Zealand is in great shape.
We are delighted to announce a new joint initiative for fee-free secondary education at Samoan state secondary schools for students in Years 9-11 with an equivalent contribution to mission schools to reduce the cost of fees. The initiative will improve access for young Samoans.
As a gift to mark Samoa's 50th Anniversary of Independence and the Treaty of Friendship, New Zealand will contribute NZD $5 million over the coming five years to fund the design and first years of implementation of this initiative which Samoa will sustain in the long term.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa welcomed the recent decision by New Zealand to extend the deadline from six to eight months for Samoans to apply for residency under the annual special immigration quota, which itself reflects the unique and special nature of the relationship.
A key component of our meeting was a discussion of the current economic climate.
We recognised that the global economic slowdown has impacted on our economies in different ways and we shared our experiences on how we have looked to meet these challenges. Both Prime Ministers agreed that increasing goods and services trade was an essential component of economic prosperity. In this regard, Prime Minister Key congratulated Prime Minister Tuilaepa on Samoa’s recent accession to the World Trade Organisation.
A key outcome from the 2011 JMC was the signing of the Samoa – New Zealand Joint Commitment for Development which establishes a shared vision for achieving long-term development outcomes for the people of Samoa, including achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Both Prime Ministers were pleased at progress since then, especially with the introduction of budget support for education and general public finance management areas. They welcomed the start of a major new phase of support to tourism, building on past investments in that sector. They endorsed the strengthened focus on ensuring the aid delivers results, particularly in the private sector and public sector improvement programmes, as well as in the education and health sectors.
Prime Minister Key provided Prime Minister Tuilaepa with an update on New Zealand’s 2014/15 Security Council campaign. Prime Minister Tuilaepa reiterated Samoa’s strong support for New Zealand’s bid.
The two Prime Ministers discussed a number of issues of common regional concern, including developments in Fiji and the outcome of the recent elections in Papua New Guinea. Priorities for the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum to be hosted by the Cook Islands later this month were also a focus of the meeting, with Prime Minister Key in his role as outgoing Forum Chair providing an update on the key issues facing the Forum over the past year.