John Key visits Pacific Islands

John Key is visiting three Pacific Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Nuie, returning to New Zealand on Friday. Mr Key is part of a group of 40 people including MPs from other parties, Pacific Island leaders and leaders from NGOs (non-government organisations).

They attended Independence Day celebrations in Samoa on Monday. It is 52 years since Samoa became independent. New Zealand has a strong relationship with all Pacific Island countries especially Samoa because 100 years ago, at the beginning of World War I, Samoa was under the control of New Zealand. Now more than 130,000 Samoan people live in New Zealand. 200,000 live in Samoa and receive around $12 million in aid each year. John Key also promised more money to help rebuild tourism after the tsunami disaster in 2009 and the cyclone in 2012.

Next John Key and his group visited Tonga where he promised $5 million to rebuild schools which had been damaged by a cyclone earlier this year. He also promised $2million to improve Tonga’s stadium which is used for rugby, athletics and community events. Tonga will host the Pacific Games in 2019 and will need a good facility. New Zealand also will contribute money for solar energy. Tonga has a population of 110,000 living on 36 islands. Another 50,000 Tongans live in New Zealand.

Tomorrow, Thursday, the group from New Zealand will visit Nuie. This is a very small island with only 1,500 people; however, 20,000 Nuieans live in New Zealand. Many of them were born in New Zealand.

Most of New Zealand’s overseas aid money goes to the Pacific Islands.

Vocabulary

  • aid – help; money to help the economy and the people
  • a facility (n) – a building for community use





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