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Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced diplomat Jonathan Schwass as High Commissioner to Vanuatu.

“New Zealand and Vanuatu have close and long-standing ties,” Mr Brownlee says.

“In the last year, more than 4,000 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, at an estimated $20 million a year for those 4,000 workers, the earnings have a significant effect on livelihoods in Vanuatu.

“Mr Schwass will lead the delivery of New Zealand’s Official Development Programme in Vanuatu, helping to oversee $82 million of investment over three years with a focus on tourism, agriculture, renewable energy and education,” Mr Brownlee says.

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.

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