Luxon not attending Pacific Islands Forum, forming govt ‘a priority’

Prime Minister-elect Christopher Luxon has confirmed that he will not be attending the upcoming Pacific Island Forum (PIF) as his priority is to form a government.

Luxon told media that he thinks it’s a “really important forum” and that it presents a “huge opportunity to build our relationships with world leaders there”.

“There are a number of issues there and we have great relationships with partner countries in the Pacific Islands that we need to continue to deepen and build our relationships with.”

He said that he “would love to go to the forum” but that he is “beholden to the system”.

“New Zealanders have voted for an MMP system, they deliver a result on election night, it takes three weeks to capture all the votes, and then we have to have coalition conversations, negotiations and finalisations of our arrangements.

“We’ll be working incredibly hard and fast as we can to make sure we got a strong, stable government. That will be my priority, but I’d love to go to APEC for sure.”

National’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Gerry Brownlee will attend the PIF in Luxon’s place, accompanied by outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni.

The 52nd PIF leaders meeting will take place in the Cook Islands from November 6-10.

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