Winston Peters

Covid-19: NZ foreign minister delays Pacific mission

Mr Peters was due to travel to Samoa, Tonga, Niue and the Cook Islands later this month.

With a delegation of MPs, government officials, community leaders and journalists, the minister was to leave New Zealand on 22 March for the week long mission.

But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said "regretfully" it had deferred the mission.

It said the decision was made "in light of the pressure that the preparation and response to the coronavirus was placing on Pacific governments".

NZ foreign minister not going to discuss refugees at Pacific Islands Forum

NGO groups have been pressuring leaders to get conditions for refugees in Nauru on the agenda.

But Peters says he hasn’t gone to Nauru to talk about that issue.

“What we're not going to do is hijack the whole purpose of a huge part of the world that is a blue conference, so to speak. It is critical that we get our agenda completed as well.”

Peters attended the forum’s official opening ceremony last night.

He’s expected to have his first bilateral meeting with his new Australian counterpart, Marise Payne today.