New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has announced a further package of support for Fiji and the Cook Islands for Covid-19 economic support and recovery.

“Aotearoa New Zealand remains committed to supporting our Pacific fanau and vuvale to respond to the impacts of Covid-19 on their economies, and move towards long-term economic resilience,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

“As the duration of the pandemic lengthens, so do the economic challenges affecting many countries in the Pacific, particularly those that have tourism-focused economies such as the Cook Islands and Fiji.

“While vaccination uptake has been excellent in these countries, rebuilding tourism will take time. This funding will help their Governments to continue supporting the needs of their most vulnerable communities.

“It will also contribute to sustaining livelihoods through measures such as social support payments, infrastructure stimulus, and tourism business support,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

This economic package of $100 million (US$68 million) brings Covid-19 budget support provided to the Cook Islands and Fiji during the global pandemic to a combined total of $215 million (US$146 million).

In addition to health and vaccine support, New Zealand is also supporting other initiatives that contribute to economic resilience. These include improved access to advice and finance for small-medium businesses in the Cook Islands and supporting Fiji to implement reforms to improve the business and investment climate.

“We know that we all need to play our part in the global effort to respond and recover from COVID-19, especially with our close Pacific neighbours. By working together we are ensuring a stronger, more resilient region that sees benefits for everyone,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

New Zealand is providing $60 million (US$40 million) to the Cook Islands, and $40 million (US$27 million) to Fiji.