The new Australian High Commissioner to Niue Susan Allen has presented her credentials to the Premier Dalton Tagelagi and Cabinet this morning.
Allen is Australia’s first resident High Commissioner to Niue. As part of the Pacific Step up foreign policy, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced in November 2018, plans to establish an Australian diplomatic mission in each Pacific Island Forum member country.
This is Allen’s first posting as Head of Mission to a Pacific Island country.
The new High Commissioner just completed 28 days of quarantine, 14 days in Niue which ended on Sunday, August 23rd after 14 days quarantine in Auckland.
Australia has worked with New Zealand through a delegated cooperation arrangement to support development activities in Niue.
“Until now we’ve delivered our government’s cooperation systems through the delegated cooperation agreement with New Zealand. That will continue for a short time still, it is just difficult to wind up quickly and then Australia will continue development assistance directly to Niue. New Zealand is our partner in the Pacific, we fully recognize and acknowledge New Zealand’s really close relationship with Niue so everything we’ll do will be in close cooperation with New Zealanders.”
The Australian High Commission is co-located with the New Zealand High Commission in Tapeu, Alofi.
“ In a sense, we have established our high commission so we’re managing our high commission co-located with New Zealand, and for the immediate term that’s how we will be going forward so we don’t have any plans to build a high commission building. We are operating co-located with New Zealanders. Increasingly a number of countries do this around the world rather than building a new building particularly with the countries perhaps small or the diplomatic representation is small so it’s sort of an established practice and particularly with those we have a close relationship with, so it’s an arrangement that works really well.”
She said Australia will support the priorities of the Niuean government, and has particular interests in health and women empowerment and supporting recovery from impacts of COVID-19.
“We are really much looking forward to working probably more closely and directly with the Niuean government on supporting their priorities going forward to see what we can do to assist them. We have particular interests in health and women’s empowerment, but we are very much guided by the priorities of the Niuean government. We’re also very much keen to support and have to date, the Niuean government and the people of Niue cope with the challenges posed by COVID – 19”
According to DFAT, an estimated $2.9 million worth of Australian Official Development Assistance was allocated to Niue for 2019 – 2020 with the majority for supporting effective governance, building resilience, Agriculture Fisheries and Water, Education, Infrastructure, and Trade.