Bilateral relations with Fiji get a major boost

Venkat Raman – 
venkat@indiannewslink.co.nz

New Zealand and Fiji can look forward to a new chapter in their bilateral relations with increasing opportunities for engagement in several sectors, Prime Minister John Key has said.

Following a meeting with Fiji’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama at the Government House in Auckland on Saturday, October 22, 2016, Mr Key said that it was time to forget the tensions of the past and focus on areas that will benefit both countries.

New Chapter begins

“There has been a troubled period. I think both sides have agreed, look, let’s look forward. It’s always a lot more fun looking at the front window than the rear vision mirror and I think that will serve both sides best,” he told journalists following talks that included officials of the two governments.

Mr Bainimarama echoed the sentiments of his host.

“I am very pleased that the Prime Minister (John Key) has agreed with me to take the relationship to another level, a relationship where we let bygones be bygones and work closely together to advance the interests of Fiji and New Zealand’s peoples,” he said, briefing journalists after the meeting.

Earlier, speaking at a Symposium, Mr Bainimarama said that Fiji has invested heavily on education, health and infrastructure over the past few years.

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Friendly policies

He attributed such investment to his government’s sound management of the economy, business friendly policies and zero tolerance towards corruption.

The Symposium, organised by Fiji Trade & Investment at Stamford Plaza Hotel on Thursday, October 20, 2016, was attended by New Zealanders of Fijian origin, public and private undertakings, investors and professionals.

He asked them to view the investment opportunities that Fiji offers with fresh eyes.

“Whether you are looking for a new manufacturing base, develop a tourism venture or an agricultural project, take advantage of the growing opportunities in ICT, mining, food processing and several other areas. Fiji is open to business,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama cited well established banking and financial institutions, state-of-the-art communications and an educated workforce as advantages of doing business with his country.

Wonderful Fijians

He described Fijians as “wonderful people, who are finally working together as one nation with their eyes firmly set on excellence, transforming Fiji into a modern nation State and on achieving the awaiting greatness.”

“Fijians are famous the world over for their friendliness and hospitality – so much so that we proclaim ourselves as the place ‘where happiness finds you.’ We are even happier than usual ourselves these days. Because, for all the continuing challenges that we face including recovering from the adverse effects of Tropical Cyclone Winston, the entire nation has been on an unprecedented high after our World Champion Rugby Sevens Team brought back Olympic Gold from Rio,” he said.

Additional Reading: 1. Fiji opens doors for New Zealand Media (Homelink) 2. Fresh incentives for education providers 3. Bainimarama refuses to sign PACER Plus (Fijilink) 4. Goodwill inaugurates new Fiji Chapter (Viewlink).

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