Venkat Raman in Suva
February 25, 2020
Fiji’s Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama has praised her New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern for her leadership on Climate Change, the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Christchurch on March 15, 2019 and said that he and his government looked forward a closer relationship.
Ms Ardern flew into Fiji last night (February 24) with her official and media delegation. She was accorded a warm welcome by Mr Bainimarama and his cabinet colleagues.
Earlier today, Mr Bainimarama and his wife Mary participated in a traditional welcome ceremony to Ms Ardern and her Partner Clarke Gaylord at the Grand Pacific Hotel, in the presence of ministers, diplomats and senior government officials. Bilateral Talks
The two leaders then held an hour of bilateral talks. Ma Ardern later announced a number of initiatives which we will report in subsequent dispatches.
Following is the edited version of the statement issued to the media by Mr Bainimarama following his bilateral meeting with Ms Ardern .
Mutual respect and equality.
”A few years back, we entered a new era of the Fiji-New Zealand friendship; an era defined by mutual respect and equality. Today, our partnership sits at unparalleled strength, as Prime Minister Ardern’s personal commitment to the Pacific has built new bridges of cooperation upon the foundation of trust and openness our governments know today. Through her inclusive and compassionate brand of leadership, she has earned a profile that extends far beyond New Zealand, winning the hearts and minds of people in Fiji and all around the world. I’m glad to see it, because I believe our world badly needs more leaders like Jacinda. This is a leader who truly cares, who not only leads well but listens, and who shares the principles of togetherness and progress that I hold most dear. But what I’ve admired most is how – when tested by great adversity – she has summoned the spirit of unity in a way that not only lifts up the people of New Zealand, but inspires the wider world.
“Prime Minister Ardern and I also see the potential of a unity across the Pacific. New Zealand is Fiji’s second largest regional trading partner. Every year, tens of thousands of Kiwis visit our shores, and Fijian and New Zealand businesses send flows of goods, services and investments across our borders that sustain and create jobs within our economies.
“What makes this partnership truly special is that Prime Minister Arden and I know the possibilities for our partnership extend far beyond our patch of ocean. From Tuvalu to the halls of the UN General Assembly, our elevated voice on the world stage has transformed the Pacific from a region left off maps to one which loudly and boldly defends humanity’s greatest interests. Both of our nations recently joined Iceland, Norway and Costa Rica in a new Agreement on Climate Change, Trade and Sustainability, which we expect will generate global momentum to spur sustainable, climate-conscious flows of trade.
Zero Option Carbon Bill.
“It’s one of many ways Fiji and New Zealand are leading the global race to net-zero. I want to congratulate New Zealand on passing its climate change response “zero carbon” bill. Fiji is proud to join you on the right side of history by passing our own Climate Change Bill this year, which lays out our pathway to net-zero emissions.“