SUNDAY MAY 19 2002
Bicycles for East Timor police
320 bicycles are to be gifted to the East Timor police force to help them maintain law and order in the newly
independent country,” Development Minister Matt Robson announced today.
East Timor became independence at midnight on Sunday May 19 2002. Matt Robson, Prime Minister, Helen Clark and Foreign
Affairs Minister Phil Goff are at the official celebrations in Dili.
Matt Robson is staying on in East Timor for two extra days to visit projects funded by the New Zealand aid budget. This
includes prisons set up with the assistance of New Zealand prison officers, schools and other projects.
New Zealand police, legal experts and customs officers have all been involved in helping to train and establish
government departments in the new nation of East Timor.
New Zealand police went to East Timor in the year 2000 to help train locals to become police officers.
“When I was in East Timor in 1999, militia forces rampaged through the streets and the people didn’t have a police force
to protect them. Today a new era begins.
“The East Timor police need equipment that is reliable but not expensive to run or maintain. At this stage they don’t
have the funding or the infrastructure to set up and run a fleet of police cars.
“Bikes are a perfect solution,” says Matt Robson.
The 320 bikes will be painted white and blue and each one will come with a maintenance kit. The total cost, including
shipping is $120,000.
“I will be taking one bike as a symbol, with me to East Timor on Saturday for the Independence celebrations. The rest
will follow shortly after,” says Matt Robson.