Prime Minister welcomes region's leaders to Pacific Islands Forum
Prime Minister John Key will host leaders from around the Pacific in Auckland next week, as the 42nd Pacific Islands
Forum Leaders' Meeting gets underway on Tuesday.
The event, which runs until September 9, will also signal the start of New Zealand's year-long tenure as Chair of the
Forum, taking over from Vanuatu.
"This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Pacific Islands Forum, which is a milestone in itself. I know all leaders
gathering next week will want to make the meeting a fitting tribute to the work that has taken place since that first
meeting in Wellington in 1971," says Mr Key.
The theme for this year's Forum is Converting Potential into Prosperity.
"The Forum has become a critical factor for harnessing development in the Pacific," says Mr Key.
"This year's event will focus on how government leaders, business people and stakeholders in the Pacific can work
together to promote sustainable economic development, and build on the region's strengths, particularly in fisheries,
tourism and energy.
"As well as being a partner in the region, New Zealand is a key donor. We want to ensure our development efforts make a
real difference throughout the Pacific, particularly in areas like education," says Mr Key.
In addition to leaders from the Pacific, New Zealand will also host a number of senior-level guests, including the
Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon; European Commission President, José Manuel Barosso; and
Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma.
The final day of the Forum will coincide with the opening match of the Rugby World Cup at Eden Park, where Forum leaders
will join in watching the All Blacks host Tonga.