The Prime Minister has announced New Zealand will fund the
school fees of years nine to 11 students in Samoa.
John Key, Labour Party leader David Shearer and a delegation
of MPs from across Parliament are in Samoa to mark the
signing of the Treaty of Friendship 50 years ago.
This morning Mr Key announced the education funding
initiative, which will cost NZ$5 million over three years and
will cover the fees of 16,000 students.
It will be funded from the New Zealand Aid budget, and may
eventually stretch to a five-year agreement as it goes
through a transition with the Samoan government which will
eventually pick up the cost.
At the Pacific Island Forum last year, New Zealand and
Australia pledged to spend $1 billion across the whole of the
Pacific on education.
Mr Key was welcomed to Apia last night by Samoan Prime
Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi ahead of the
Samoa gained independence 50 years ago, ending New Zealand's
colonial administration and a Treaty of Friendship was signed
as a way to forge ahead with a new relationship.
Mr Key and Prime Minister Malielegaoi will today discuss how
this relationship can continue to evolve over the next 50
"I look forward to meeting Prime Minister Tuilaepa and
members of his Cabinet while in Samoa to mark the 50th
anniversary, as well as discussing regional issues of mutual
interest ahead of this year's Pacific Islands Forum," Mr Key
"Samoa is the only country in the world with which New
Zealand has a formal Friendship Treaty - it's a mark of our
deep ties, shared values and long history of cooperation,"
said Mr Key.
Mr Key will attend a state lunch at Robert Louis Stevenson
Museum where the Treaty of Friendship was signed and will
visit the village of Poutasi to see how it has been rebuilt
after it was devastated in the tsunami in 2009.
- Kate Shuttleworth, APNZ