New Zealand Embassy Tokyo, Japan

Ambassador for Pacific Economic Development appointed

Foreign Minister Murray McCully has announced the appointment of Hon Shane Jones as New Zealand’s new Ambassador for Pacific Economic Development.

Mr McCully said that the appointment of Mr Jones signalled a clear intention on the part of the New Zealand Government to improve economic outcomes in the Pacific, and to make a more constructive contribution to economic development in small island developing states.

The appointment will also see Mr Jones serve as High Commissioner to several small island developing states in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, which will be announced once diplomatic formalities have been completed.

Mr McCully noted that New Zealand contributed over $300 million in development funding to the Pacific annually and that Ambassador Jones would focus on supporting income generating opportunities for Pacific countries in sectors like tourism, agriculture, horticulture, and fisheries. Last year the Pacific tuna fishery yielded between US$4 billion and US$5 billion of fish to international markets, Mr McCully noted, yet less than 10 per cent of that amount made its way back to Pacific countries. He added that there was clearly a need to do more to ensure that Pacific countries benefited from the resource they owned. "Mr Jones would have a wide ranging brief to work with Pacific leaders in this area", Mr McCully said.

Mr McCully went on to emphasise that, as a leader in the Pacific Islands Forum, New Zealand needed to play a more active role in encouraging inter-regional cooperation between the Pacific, the Caribbean nations and the states of the Indian Ocean Commission. The Small Islands Developing States conference sponsored by the United Nations in Samoa this September would be an opportunity to take this agenda forward in areas such as oceans and fisheries management, as well as renewable energy and climate change initiatives, he said.

Mr. Jones recently retired as a Member of Parliament. He had been a Labour Party MP since 2005. He served as a Cabinet Minister 2007-2008. Before becoming a Member of Parliament he held a number of senior roles in the public sector, being best known for his work as chairman of the Waitangi Fisheries Commission. Mr Jones is Māori, of Te Aupōuri and Ngāi Takoto descent.

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