Vila Times

New Zealand is not trying to compete with China in the Pacific: NZ’s Prime Minister

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand can never outspend China in the Pacific and it is not trying to compete with the Asian superpower.

Ardern Monday pledged the government would dedicate almost $10 million in aid and support for Samoa, RNZI reports.

Ardern, whose next stop is Nuie, told Morning Report that regardless of what other countries were doing, New Zealand should exercise its duties and responsibilities as partners and friends in the Pacific.

“It’s not about being competitive just for the sake of being competitive,” she said. “It’s because we have shared values, we have a real interest in making sure our Pacific neighbours are resilient, that they have sustainable economic development and that they have the best start in life for their kids.

“We’re worried about the well-being of the Pacific as partners and as friends.”

New Zealand had a large Pacific population, a shared culture and historic ties, she added.

As well as extra funding, which had declined in real terms over the last decade, the government would be stepping up the level of diplomacy, she said.