The Prime Minister, Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP, has expressed appreciation for New Zealand’s ongoing support to Papua New Guinea including the provision of independent observers for the upcoming elections and expertise for APEC preparations.

PM O’Neill made the comments as he received New Zealand’s incoming High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, H.E. Sue Mackwell, for her presentation of credentials in Port Moresby.

“In welcoming High Commissioner Mackwell to her new position, I expressed my expectation that our two countries will continue to build stronger relations,” the Prime Minister said.

“As High Commissioner she has arrived in Papua New Guinea at an exciting time in our history as we elect the next Parliament, and host major events such as the Rugby League World Cup and APEC.

“Papua New Guinea will vote in the coming months, and the presence of international observers is always appreciated to ensure independent verification of transparency in the election process.

“New Zealand will have three former Ministers of State participating as observers and we look forward to them arriving in Papua New Guinea.”

As Papua New Guinea prepares to host APEC, the Prime Minister said New Zealand is playing an important role in the areas of APEC security and protocol preparations.

“I thanked High Commissioner Mackwell for the support New Zealand is extending in the area of security co-operation.

“Security for Leaders and delegations is one of the most important elements in hosting an APEC year and Summit.

“New Zealand is also working with our protocol personnel to enhance skills required when we bring delegations, including Prime Ministers and Presidents, from the twenty other APEC Member Economies.”

In their discussion the Prime Minister and High Commissioner further expressed desire to continue with development co-operation in areas where New Zealand has substantial expertise.

“New Zealand has been supportive of Papua New Guinea in strengthening our key sectors such as agricultural production and enhancing energy security.

“We look forward to enhancing this co-operation and achieving even greater development outcomes for the people of Papua New Guinea.”