PORT VILA, 22nd November 2023. The Vanuatu Office of the Public Service Commission has signed a first ever Memorandum of Understanding with the New Zealand Public Service
Commission on the 17th of November 2023.

This MoU is the first for Public Service Commission institutions in the Pacific Region. It was signed at the end of the FONO 2023- the Pacific Public Service Commissioners’ Annual
Conference in Wellington, New Zealand.

The Acting Secretary of the OPSC as head of OPSC delegation to the FONO 2023, Mr Jonathan Iavere reiterated that this was an initiative discussed between him and the OPSC Chairman to finalize some agreements initiated but due to COVID19, we were unable to materialized them, so to speak Mr. Mahe reiterated again prior to their participation in this important meeting.

“As this is an annual conference where exchange of information and insights in public service developments, challenges and reform opportunities are discussed, we took the advantage to endeavor into seeking opportunities with our PSC partners in this case the NZ Public Service Commission on how we can further improve our PSC here in country in terms of service delivery and capacity building of our employees,” he said. “So, we had the opportunity to meet with the Deputy Public Service Commissioner of the New
Zealand Public Service Commission, Ms Heather Baggott and their legal team to discuss, draft and sign the MoU.”

The MoU is purposely for the parties to engage in an internship program for the Vanuatu OPSC staff in New Zealand, available support to assist intern staff and their immediate family in New Zealand; and cooperation required from NZ PSC to support the VPSC in its policy making.

Mr Iavere also expressed that the MoU also encompassed areas around special category visa for civil servants entering New Zealand for duty or study purposes and labor mobility.

“The idea around Labor mobility is more into getting the seasonal workers in New Zealand certified by their employers and that certification will enable them to access formal training at the Vanuatu Agriculture College upon their return,” he said.

“They will be studying while waiting to go back on their next seasonal work. In this way we will change from informal workers to formal certified workers who will be eligible to work as agriculture field assistants in their islands and assist the Department of Agriculture to improve productivity and skills gained both in the farm and at VAC.”

Mr Iavere mentioned that this will not be the only MoU Vanuatu PSC has signed with New Zealand but has other MoU’s in the pipeline with fellow Pacific countries to assist and improve service delivery as part of the current reforms at the PSC.

In their preparation prior to the conference, the Chairman of PSC and the delegation have discussed and made their stand to support and recognized the participation of Small Island States in this case the state of Tokelau in the PPSC annual conference.

“Although Tokelau was part of the meeting, there was only 16 PPSC members voice recognized in the decision making and with Vanuatu’s firm stand to have Tokelau recognized
inside the board of the PPSC, Tokelau will now have its own representative in future meetings of the PPSC which will bring the membership to 17 altogether,” Mr Iavere stated.

There was a resolution made during the conference that after a 12- month period, the next PPSC meeting will be held in Samoa and was also agreed that the two new board members of FALE representing the Pacific under MSG would be Vanuatu and the Solomon Island.

Vanuatu will be the next Chair of the MSG Public Service Commission Committee in 2024.The Pacific Public Service Commissioners’ Annual conference has taken place across the
region every year since 2004-2019 with a break during 2020-2022 due to COVID-19. The agenda of the conference is set by the Pacific Public Service Commissioners with goals to identify workable approaches to address the needs of the region and to develop co-operative and mutually supporting solutions with Pacific expertise at the center.

Fono 2023: Pacific Public Service Commissioners’ conference is supported by Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission and the Public Service Fale Secretariat