Ex-PM says Samoa being 'hoodwinked' by NZ government

Samoa's former Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has accused New Zealand of drawing more attention towards "geopolitical issues to satisfy its ego for cheap popularity".

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently visited Samoa as part of the country's 60th anniversary celebrations.

During the trip Ardern announced that New Zealand would provide $15 million to support Samoa with its climate change priorities, and a further $12 million to rebuild Apia's Savalalo Market, which was destroyed by a fire in 2016.

In an open letter Tuilaepa commended Jacinda Adern's visit to Samoa to commemorate 60 years of the Friendship Treaty, but he wrote that "this event provides an opportunity for the leaders of both countries to read the treaty and understand its significance".

"Prime Minister Adern acknowledged in her address at Vailima that it is the only Treaty ever signed by New Zealand.

"It signifies the special relationship that must be honoured by deeds and not by just mere words.

"Alongside the sudden rush by other powers to set up embassies in the Pacific Islands after years of neglect and empty promises, there is a real concern that Samoa is being hoodwinked by the Labour Government leadership via the goodwill shown in mere patting one another on the shoulder amidst Kiwi wine and singing Me He Manu Rere."