Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Between 1999-2003, Solomon Island experienced violent conflict followed by a long period of lawlessness. In 2003, the Government requested assistance from Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific Island countries, which arrived in the form of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

Military and police from Australia, New Zealand and across the Pacific were able to quickly restore security. A large number of ex-patriate personnel were also seconded to key government departments to stabilise the budget and strengthen the accountability environment within government.

Since 2003, RAMSI has focussed its efforts on restoring law and order, re-establishing the machinery of government and improving economic governance. On the security side, New Zealand's contribution consists of both military and police personnel. A small number of New Zealand public servants are also seconded to the Treasury and tax departments funded by NZAID.

Today we visited the New Zealand police and soldiers stationed at RAMSI headquarters at GBR in Honiara. It was interesting to hear the police staff talk about the very hands-on approach they are able to take in working with their Solomon Islands colleagues to improve and develop community policing.

It was also great to see the real regional nature of the mission by meeting officiers serving in RAMSI from NZ, Samoa, PNG and Australia in the morning we spent at GBR.

There are ongoing questions about its future and at times the RAMSI road is bumpy – but from all accounts RAMSI has made a very positive difference in the lives of Solomon Islanders.


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