Winston Peters helped open Pacific Exposition 2019 in Auckland today by showcasing his drumming skills, after giving a speech on New Zealand's role in the Pacific.
During his speech, Mr Peters told the audience of the importance of New Zealand's relationship with Indonesia, and of the Pacific diversity of the people that make up New Zealand's Parliament.
When asked if he would raise the issue of West Papua with the Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne at his meeting this afternoon, Mr Peters said New Zealand had ongoing dialogue with Indonesia on West Papua.
The Indonesian-ruled West Papua has been a contentious issue, with many from the area calling for independence from Indonesia, which has ruled it since the 1960s.
"Since 1969, that relationship between Indonesia and West Papua has been confirmed by the United Nations, and we have the same view as successive Governments in New Zealand, which have taken the view the appropriate authority is Indonesia," New Zealand’s Foreign Minister said today.
When asked about his view on the lack of West-Papua representation at the expo, Mr Peters said he was unable to answer why the Indonesians did not bring an independent West-Papuan.
"But of course it’s something we could raise in the future, so to speak. Our job is to ensure the economic, social and deal conditions of West Papuans are as good as anywhere else in the Pacific, or as good as they are in Papua New Guinea.
"Too often people are making criticisms without saying, ‘What in West Papua is inferior to PNG?’ – we need to answer that question rather than just make objective judgement."