PRESS STATEMENT from the office of New Zealand Foreign Minister, Hon. Murray McCully - Wednesday 4th May 2011 - Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, says a Pacific regional counter-terrorism exercise is being hosted in New Zealand this week.

Exercise Ready Pasifika brings together police, legal experts and senior officials responsible for counter-terrorism from 14 Pacific Island countries for a table-top exercise being held in Auckland.

"While there is only a low level of threat to the Pacific region from terrorism, nowhere can be considered completely immune," said Mr McCully.

"The high level of involvement in this exercise demonstrates the importance New Zealand and Pacific Island Forum governments attach to cooperation against international terrorism," he said.

The exercise coincides with the Working Group on Counter-Terrorism's annual meeting. This is the only regular regional forum for countries to discuss international counter-terrorism trends and identify priorities for assistance.

This year it is being attended by the head of the UN Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, Ambassador Mike Smith, as well as Pacific Forum member and observer countries and a number of regional security organisations.

"United Nations' resolutions have required member states to restrict the movement, organisation and fund-raising activities of terrorist groups," said Mr McCully.

"Many smaller states have lacked the resources to fully comply with international standards and for the last five years New Zealand has taken a lead role on assisting Pacific Island countries meet their counter-terrorism obligations."

"New Zealand has provided funding for counter-terrorism technical assistance in the region through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat," he said.

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and New Zealand Police are hosting Exercise Ready Pasifika in Auckland.

The Working Group on Counter-Terrorism meeting is co-chaired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Pacific Forum Secretariat.