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Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee today announced the appointment of career diplomat Bruce Shepherd as Consul-General to New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna.

New Caledonia and French Polynesia are important partners for New Zealand in the Pacific, both as significant export markets and as full members of the Pacific Islands Forum,” Mr Brownlee says.

“New Caledonia is New Zealand’s closest neighbour, and will be holding a referendum on independence in 2018.

“A Joint Cooperation Plan was signed in September 2016 at the Pacific Islands Forum in Pohnpei which sets a framework for closer engagement and cooperation with New Caledonia.

“The Consul General will be working to strengthen those ties, and similarly with French Polynesia, with which New Zealand has strong historical and cultural links,” Mr Brownlee says.

Mr Shepherd, who is of Ngati Kahu o Torongare descent, was most recently New Zealand’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union, and has previously been posted to Myanmar, United Arab Emirates and Tonga.

Mr Shepherd has also worked in Geneva with the United Nations and will be based in Noumea, New Caledonia.

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