The official opening of the 39th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting took place yesterday in Alofi, Niue. Prior to the meeting, the Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Dr. Derek Sikua had a number of bilateral meetings, two of which were with the Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Australia.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Helen Clark of New Zealand, Dr. Sikua was informed that New Zealand will now include Solomon Islands in its formal or Government Recognized Seasonal Employment Scheme.

Prime Minister Clark has stated that Solomon Islands inclusion in the New Zealand Government formal Seasonal Employment scheme is in recognition of the positive steps taken by the Sikua Government since it came into Office.

Since the introduction of the RSE policy by New Zealand two years ago, Solomon Islands was not included in the fast track countries that have formal arrangement with New Zealand on the employment scheme.

Prime Minister Clark also informed Dr. Sikua that the New Zealand Government will also assist the Solomon Islands Government in funding and building a new Royal Solomon Islands Police Barracks at Rove.

Prime Minister Sikua in response expressed his sincere appreciation and gratitude to the New Zealand Prime Minister and Government for its support and assistance.