NZ appoints new high commissioner to Vanuatu

Diplomat Jonathan Schwass has been appointed New Zealand’s high commissioner to Vanuatu.

Mr Schwass is currently unit manager of the South East Asia Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was previously ambassador to Timor-Leste.

New Zealand’s foreign minister Gerry Brownlee said Mr Schwass would lead the delivery of New Zealand’s Official Development Programme in Vanuatu, helping to oversee $US60 million of investment over three years with a focus on tourism, agriculture, renewable energy and education.

Mr Brownlee said New Zealand and Vanuatu had close and long-standing ties.

He said in the last year more than 4000 Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from Vanuatu were in New Zealand, representing about 40 per cent of the total workers in the scheme.

“The RSE scheme has been an enormous success over the last decade and, of over $US14 million a year for those 4,000 workers, the earnings have a significant effect on livelihoods in Vanuatu,” said Mr Brownlee.

Source: RNZ