PRESS RELEASE - Alofi, Niue, 3rd June 2011 - The peer review held in Niue this week under the Forum Compact on Strengthening Development Coordination will help New Zealand and Niue reflect on the two countries' bilateral relations.

The Compact endorsed by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders during their meeting in Cairns, Australia 2009, sets out collective actions by Forum member countries and development partners designed to strengthen coordination and use of all development resources in the Pacific.

The peer reviews intend to review and focus action on the ways that Forum island countries (FICs), with support of development partners, use their own money and the aid they receive to ensure a better life for their people and make progress towards achieving their national priorities and the Millennium Development Goals.

Niue is the fifth FIC which has volunteered to undergo the peer review. It has selected a representative from the governments of Nauru and Samoa and AusAid to undertake the review.

"The peer review team asks questions about the relationship we have with Niue and in the process of finding the answers we reflect on our dealings with Niue and how we could do things better. We don't normally ask ourselves these questions," said Mark Blumsky, New Zealand's High Commissioner in Niue after meeting with the Niue Peer Review Team.

"New Zealand has a wonderful constitutional relationship with Niue but maybe there are things we may have missed and maybe there are smarter ways of doing things. And if we do not ask ourselves these questions that the peer review team asks us, we may not realize what we need to do to improve on our relations," said Mr Blumsky.

He added: "It is good that an independent group like the peer review team, which comprises of some very experienced officers from other Forum island countries, come here and see how we do things here. I hope the team will recommend ways to do what we are doing now in a smarter way."

New Zealand is Niue's main development partner and the only one with a residence presence in Alofi. It has a three-year NZ$45 million assistance package with Niue.