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Vaovasamanaia Winston Peters receives a gift from Nauru's Foreign Minister Lionel Aingimea during the NZ Deputy PM's visit to the Pacific island nation this week.

Photo/Nauru government


Opposition MPs in coalition-led Pacific talks

Carmel Sepuloni has praised Winston Peters for his cross-party approach during tour of the region.

Vaovasamanaia Winston Peters visited three Pacific island countries this week and extended a diplomatic hand across New Zealand's political party lines.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade invited a cross-section of MPs to join his delegation to the Solomon Islands, Nauru, and Niue.

Accompanying him were Customs Minister Casey Costello, Tim van de Molen, and opposition MPs Damien O’Connor, Teanau Tuiono, and Jenny Salesa.

Labour’s Deputy Leader, Carmel Sepuloni, told Pacific Mornings’ William Terite that this was a continuation of a former political collaboration.

Watch Carmel Sepuloni's full interview below:


“Winston is continuing the cross-party approach that occurred under Jacinda Ardern and the Chris Hipkins-led government,” Sepuloni said.

“Previously, when National was in last time, I can remember going on these trips and the Prime Minister, John Key at the time, and his ministers would go off to the high-powered meetings, and the rest of us would go and do other things and wouldn’t be invited to sit at the table.

“But Jenny [Salesa] was telling me that Winston has been very inclusive, that she and Damien O’Connor have been included at those key meetings. Winston has invited them to ask questions directly of the leaders and that the engagement has been really positive.”

Sepuloni said while she may disagree with the New Zealand First leader, she couldn’t fault Vaovasamanaia’s approach within the Pacific and credited his positive relationship across the region.

The trip saw the handover of the upgraded Seghe Airfield in the Solomon Islands’ Western Province and a contribution of $5 million towards high-quality education in Nauru.

Part of the tour included commemorating the 50th anniversary of Niue’s self-governance in free association with New Zealand.