Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has rejected a suggestion that New Zealand and Australia are among "condescending colonisers" who lecture Pacific Island countries about how to spend their aid money.
That call had been made by emeritus law professor Jane Kelsey, who has just written a report on the issue titled Big Brother Behaving Badly.
Ardern said she utterly rejected that view: “I’d have to say that for a claim to be made that New Zealand is at fault, again does not take into account the individual decision-making rights of these foreign members”.
“They are our partners, our neighbours and we've worked very hard alongside them over the years to change the nature of our relationships but I would always let the Pacific Island forum members speak for themselves”.
The prime minister is just back from the Pacific Forum where Kiribati pulled out the day the forum was due to start
Kiribati had just signed a major deal with the Chinese to focus on roading, dealing with climate change and tourism.
Ardern described the absence of Kiribati as "sad", saying a large amount of work had been invested into solving the issues that Micronesia faced.
On inflation, which has now hit 7.3 per cent, Ardern said her government had seen high figures forecast at the start of the year as was happening around the world.
She said the government tried to make moves to ease that pressure while trying to not make the situation worse.
It has continued cost-cutting strategies such as extending the tax cut on fuels until the beginning of next year, public transport fares being reduced by half until next April and a cost of living payment of $350 for low-income earners.
“We are hoping that eases the pressure while inflation comes away.”