Politics | Minister for Pacific Peoples

New Minister for Pacific Peoples given ‘thumbs up’ by several Pacific leaders

Dr Shane Reti wants Pacific National Party members to be his ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground.

Pacific Peoples Ministry chief executive Gerardine Clifford-Lidstone, Minister Dr Shane Reti and Pacific Blues Chair Christian Malietoa-Brown.

Several leading members of the Pacific community have voiced their support for the appointment of Dr Shane Reti as the Pacific Peoples’ Minister, and also Minister of Health.

This comes after Dr Reti travelled with Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters on the recent Pacific Mission to Tonga, the Cook Islands and Samoa.

Chief Executive of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, Gerardine Clifford-Lidstone, who was also a member of the mission, said “I feel blessed to have worked with Dr Shane Reti and he is deeply passionate about the Pacific and health.”

“Going to the Pacific with him to see the opening of the pharmacies while visiting Vaiola Hospital [in Tonga], and to understand how closely connected we are, is very important.”

She said while there is no Pacific person in the government at the moment, there are several people who support him in the Pacific community.

Chairperson of the National Party’s Pacific Blues, Christian Malietoa-Brown, said, “[Dr Reti] wants to do well in the Pacific. He thinks that it is an area that the government needs to work more on.”

He said Dr Reti has expressed a desire for them to be his lookouts about what’s affecting the Pacific community and report back to him.

Malietoa-Brown said Dr Reti told them, “‘I need you to be my eyes and ears on the ground. Indeed, you guys [need] to let me know what I need to know.’”

“He is very open to us and for us. It’s a chance to help him in whatever we can. He is a great guy, a genuine intellect, and it is a great honour to have him as our Health Minister,” he said.

During the Pacific Mission, Dr Reti focused on addressing diverse health-related issues and reinforced the ongoing support and collaboration with the Pacific regions.

At Rarotonga Hospital in the Cook Islands, he told the staff that they mattered to the new New Zealand government.

“Take the signal - very early, 50 days into this new government - the Deputy Prime Minister and myself, two senior people in the New Zealand Cabinet. are here visiting you. Take the signal, you matter to us. We care and we have got your back.”