New Zealand Embassy Paris, France
France is a key partner for New Zealand in the South Pacific, a region in which both countries hold an important stake in promoting peace, stability and prosperity. New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France, is New Zealand's nearest regional neighbour.
The days of French nuclear testing in the Pacific are now a distant memory: France’s signature of the South Pacific Nuclear Weapon Free Zone protocols in 1996 paved the way for a new era of friendly cooperation in the region. New Zealand values France’s constructive role in advancing and protecting the livelihoods of Pacific peoples.
The FRANZ arrangement between France, New Zealand and Australia provides for the timely and effective provision of disaster relief to Pacific Island countries. There is also a significant degree of cooperation in the Pacific between French and New Zealand defence forces, including the pooling of resources for the provision of regional maritime surveillance. France and New Zealand cooperate within regional organisations such as the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (formerly the Pacific Island Commission) and the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) to provide development assistance to the region.
Aside from its relationship with metropolitan France, New Zealand also enjoys friendly relations with New Caledonia and French Polynesia as Pacific regional actors in their own right. High-level political contact between New Zealand, New Caledonia and French Polynesia has expanded in recent years and there have been frequent visits and exchanges in the areas of trade, defence, social dialogue, education, tourism, culture and sports. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully visited New Caledonia in July 2010 and the Minister of Defence Dr Wayne Mapp visited in April 2010.
A New Caledonian delegation, led by President Harold Martin, a French Polynesian delegation led by President Oscar Temaru and a Wallis and Futuna delegation led by Administrator Michel Jeanjean all travelled to New Zealand for the 42nd Pacific Islands Forum in September 2011. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé and Secretary of State for Overseas Territories Marie-Luce Penchard also attended the Pacific Islands Forum in Auckland in September 2011.
New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna are working, in cooperation with France, to become more integrated into the Pacific region. This has led to greater cooperation with New Zealand on regional issues. Both New Caledonia and French Polynesia are currently associate members of the Pacific Islands Forum (since 2006) and Wallis and Futuna holds observer status. They are also members of several regional institutions such as the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), which is based in New Caledonia.