No progress on suspension of NZ aid to Nauru

Editorial, Normal

The National, Monday September 14th, 2015

 NAURU is no closer to getting its New Zealand aid restored after a meeting between foreign affairs minister Murray McCully and Nauru’s justice minister achieved little.

McCully finally met with David Adeang in the final hours of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Port Moresby last Friday.

The two had been scheduled to meet to discuss the more than NZ$1.2 million (K2.13m) of funding that was put on 

hold by McCully last week following little progress by the Pacific Island nation to address concerns around its justice sector.

The funding makes up more than half of the nation’s total financial support from New Zealand and following the meeting McCully was no closer to giving the aid support back.

He said there was an “understanding” between the two but no progress had been made on when Nauru would sort issues with its rule of law.

Earlier in the week McCully told media he had prioritised the meeting with Adeang while in Papua New Guinea.

“Whether he wants to prioritise it is a matter for him. 

“We did agree in a telephone conversation a week or so ago that we would meet here,” he said.

“I’m sure he’s been very busy but I’ve been keeping space free and will continue to do so.”

McCully didn’t think he had been “snubbed” by Nauru leaders leading up to the meeting and said he had briefly spoken with President Baron Waqa during the week.

“We’ve got the current programme suspended and it will stay suspended until something changes.”

“I’ve tried to convey New Zealand’s position in a careful and moderate manner – we haven’t rushed into this process, it’s about three months.”

McCully had hoped a conversation with Adeang would get Nauru back on track and “restore international respect and credibility to their justice sector”.

“We don’t deny funding lightly.”

New Zealand’s direct connection with the pacific nation’s ongoing justice problems is Nauru Opposition MP Roland Kun, who has had his passport confiscated making it impossible for him to be reunited with his family in Wellington.

While McCully has spoken with both Adeang and Waqa about Kun, he said it wasn’t about “one individual”.  –