Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius # 687
By Online Editor
12:59 pm GMT+12, 26/11/2012, Papua New GuineaPapua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has welcomed growing political support for the extension of the government’s grace period from 18 months to 30 months.
The government proposed to introduce an amendment to section 145 of the Constitution, to extend the grace period before a vote of no confidence can be taken on a prime minister.
Cabinet approved the proposed amendment last month.
It was gazetted and circulated by the speaker and is ready to be introduced in parliament this week.
The proposed change to section 145 is part of the Alotau Accord agreed to by coalition partners in government.Since O’Neill announced cabinet’s approval of the proposed change, the People’s Party, a majority of provincial governors, and the Prime Minister’s People’s National Congress party have voiced support for the amendment.
Forest Minister Patrick Pruaitch’s National Alliance is the latest to join the chorus.
O’Neill was confident other coalition partners in government and members of the Opposition would see the benefit of this change and support the amendment.
“Members of this parliament understand the challenge facing our country, and the opportunity we have now more than ever to address these challenges,” O’Neill said in a statement.
“The policies we have identified in the Alotau Accord, and the design and formulation of the 2013 Budget underlines our determination to begin the task of rebuilding our country.
“I believe 30 months, rather than 18, gives enough time for anyone to assess the performance of a government and prime minister, and determine whether change is necessary.
“I am confident parliament will speak as one when the amendment is brought to its floor this week,” O’Neill said.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWWS
2)PNG Offers Scholarships, Budget Support To Solomons
PM O’Neill committed to helping Melanesian neighbor
HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Nov. 24, 2012) – Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has secured 800 scholarships from the Papua New Guinea Government and a 20 million Kina [US$9.6 million] budget support after bilateral meeting with his counterpart Peter O’Neil on Thursday in Port Moresby.
Mr Lilo who attended the Wednesday Special Pacific African, Caribbean and Pacific (PACP) Leaders’ Meeting participated in his first bilateral engagement with Mr O’Neil during which both leaders agreed to further deepen the relationship between the Melanesian neighbours.
He said he was very impressed by the outcome of the engagement as PNG had again showed its unwavering commitment to support Solomon Islands in a number of sectors.
He confirmed that Mr O’Neil had committed to sponsoring 800 students from Solomon Islands to study in various universities and tertiary institutions across Papua New Guinea.
Mr Lilo in accepting the offer assured the PNG leader that recipients of these scholarships will be fairly chosen from all the provinces in Solomon Islands.
Already, he said the Government is looking at shifting some of its sponsored students from the University of the South Pacific in Fiji to PNG universities especially those who undertake courses that are also offered by the PNG institutions.
The prime minister said PNG’s assistance in the tertiary education sector will significantly reduce the tertiary education bill which has continued to increase over the recent years.
Aside the offer to support the education sector, Mr Lilo and Mr O’Neil also agreed for PNG to contribute 20 million Kina as part of budget support for next year’s budget.
He said this is a significant injection of cash and that now places PNG as a member of the core economic working group.
Mr Lilo said the 20million Kina which translates into about $70 million will help Solomon Islands to effectively deliver public services to its people.
Also at the meeting, both leaders agreed to implement a visa-free work scheme to allow for the free movement of nationals from both sides to work in the Solomon Islands and PNG without having to acquire work permits as now practiced.
The discussion was believed to have also prompted other leaders to explore similar arrangements in the Pacific and it was anticipated to also send a clear message to Australia and New Zealand to be flexible with their work visas to Pacific Islanders.
Mr Lilo said the realisation of the proposal would greatly benefit Solomon Islanders to tap into the booming PNG market.
Under this proposed scheme Solomon Islanders can travel to PNG with their valid passports and work there without having to apply for a work permit.
The Prime Minister said he had also agreed with Mr O’Neil for his Government to help facilitate the return of Solomon Islands medical doctors now working in various parts of the country.
He said that this has come about after repeated calls for Solomon Islands to have its trained doctors return home after some of them were employed by the PNG Government after they completed their studies.
Meanwhile, Mr Lilo said that Solomon Islands and PNG officials will commence dialogue to establish formal understanding for a prospect of entering into a double taxation agreement by the two Melanesian states.
Both leaders also discussed ways to further improve border control between the two countries.
On PNG and Asia, Mr Lilo said that Solomon Islands appreciated the membership of PNG in the ASEAN which he hoped will bring spin-offs to the Solomon Islands economy.
According to Mr Lilo his engagement with PNG has been very fruitful and he was thankful to Mr O’Neil for his commitment to help Solomon Islands.
Commentators in PNG believe that the deepening bilateral relationship between two countries and the new shift in support is attributed to the two leaders’ personal relationship which was dated back to their university days at the University of Papua New Guinea.
PM Lilo and Mr O’Neil were class-mates at UPNG.
To further deepen their relationship, Mr O’Neil has already invited Mr Lilo to a state visit to PNG in February 2013 to be followed by visits by the Prime Minister of Fiji, Prime Minister of Australia and the President of Indonesia.
In another development Solomon Islands new high commissioner to Papua New Guinea William Haomae on Thursday presented his Letter of Introduction to Prime Minister O’Neil.
3)Reconciliation for Bougainville leader 15 years after he was taken hostage by rebels
Posted at 06:48 on 26 November, 2012 UTC
The president of Papua New Guinea’s autonomous Bougainville Government, John Momis, says a reconciliation for him, held over the weekend, was vitally important for the province.
In 1997, during the Bougainville Civil War Mr Momis was taken hostage by rebels allied to the separatist leader, Francis Ona, and held for about a month.
At the time he was Bougainville’s regional member in the national parliament and Mr Momis says the rebels held him responsible for the PNG Defence Force being used to put down the insurrection.
Mr Momis says he forgave his captors long ago but the weekend’s formal ceremony at Tinputz was important.
“The leaders wanted to have the reconciliation soon after I was released but it took such a long time because the member who represented them, for some reason or other, was not really committed, so it was important that this public demonstration of reconciliation be held and in a formal way and also in a traditional way, following the traditional ritual.”
Radio New Zealand International
4)Bougainville Forum Recommends Reopening Panguna Mine
Bougainville Copper Ltd. supported as primary partner
By Aloysius Laukai
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Nov. 26, 2012) – The two-day Panguna negotiations forum, held at the Hutjena Secondary School hall last week, has recommended that the closed Panguna copper mine be re-opened with Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL) as their first partner.
The regional forum for the North Bougainville districts of Buka, Atolls and Nissan ended with all the three districts supporting the re-opening of the mine by BCL.
In their seven-point recommendations, all three districts said they supported the re-opening of the Panguna copper mine only after a new deal had been negotiated between all parties concerned.
They called on the Autonomous Bougainville Government to make sure all parties were represented when the new deal is negotiated between BCL, ABG, the Papua New Guinea government and the landowners.
The division of mining, who organised the meeting, wanted to get the views from the leaders and people of North Bougainville, Nissan and the Atolls district that included the islands of Carteret, Mortlock, Tasman and Fead.
The forum was hailed a success.
Bougainville is running these workshops to gauge the views of all the districts before negotiating a new deal in future.
Three more forums would be hosted in Central Bougainville and South Bougainville to get people’s views before the end of this year.
[PIR editor’s note: Meanwhile, the Papua New Guinea Post-Courier reported that “A historic and significant reconciliation ceremony took place last Saturday in the Tinputz District of North Bougainville between the President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville Chief Dr John Momis and the former combatants from the area.”]
The National: www.thenational.com.pg/
5) 2 Chinese Fined In Vanuatu For Possessing Fake Passports
By Thompson Marango
PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Nov. 26, 2012) – Immigration has fined two female Chinese nationals a total amount of Vt250,000 [US$2,691] each after they were found in possession of fraudulent passports.
According the head of the Vanuatu Police Force Transnational Crime Unit, the two holders of Hong Kong passports arrived in Vanuatu on November 17 from Hong Kong through Fiji.
The duo was part of a small group of three females of all Asian origin assumingly intending to travel to New Zealand the next day.
After spending a night in Port Vila, on Sunday the 18 when checking in with the Air Vanuatu one of the three females was found possessing a fake passport.
Daily Post was informed that the identity photo matches the holder of the passport but it was the passport itself that is a fake.
The group was prohibited from traveling by the Immigration Department until further investigations are conducted.
On Wednesday this week during an interview with the Immigration, Police Transnational Crime Unit, and the Customs Department, the second individual of the group was also found in possession of another passport.
According to Immigration Laws, the maximum fine for committing such acts is Vt500,000. But with its powers the Principal Immigration Officer can see to which amount fitting the situation which saw the duo fined half the maximum amount.
Meanwhile it is now up to the two individuals concern to settle their fines before they can leave in the next flight out of the country to Hong Kong.
According the Transnational Crime Unit such cases are not yet common but certain measures are already being sought to deal with such cases.
Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.com
6) Fiji PM To Head International Sugar Organization Seminar
Bainimarama heading to London for talks
By Maciu Malo
SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Nov. 26, 2012) – Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama will lead a Fijian delegation to London later this month to attend the International Sugar Organisation (ISO) seminar.
According to the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) executive chairman Abdul Khan the visit would be a milestone for Fiji and for Commodore Bainimarama as he would be taking over the chairmanship of the ISO.
“While there, we will be joined by our high commissioner in London and our industry representative from Brussels,” Mr Khan said.
“The benefit in attending the International Sugar Organisation Seminar is that it allows us to compare notes and learn from around 89 other country representatives from the sugar world,” Mr Khan said.
“One of the most important reasons for this visit is that our PM, as vice-chairman, will be taking over as chairman of the ISO.”
Mr Khan said Commodore Bainimarama would be accompanied by the permanent secretary for Sugar Manasa Vaniqi, Sugar Cane Growers Council chief executive officer Sundresh Chetty, officials of the Industry Tribunal and the director sugar.
Meanwhile, Mr Khan said FSC had performed well for the season despite facing two major floods early this year.
He said he was optimistic that FSC would crush the remaining 14,200 tonnes of raw sugar to meet its annual target.
“We have so far produced 145,800 tonnes of raw sugar from 1,431,000 tonnes of sugarcane. Our projected production is above 160,000 tonnes of raw sugar.”
Mr Khan said FSC had also set a two-year target to bring the sugar extraction rate down to around 11.
“So far we are sitting on 9.8 and likely to finish the season around 10.5.”
“And to improve our production we basically need to increase our sugarcane crop size and quality that will lead to increased production of raw sugar,” he added.
Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com.
7) Senior Fiji academic says 2013 budget could be platform for growth in elections proceed
Posted at 03:40 on 26 November, 2012 UTC
The head of Business and Economics at the University of the South Pacific believes it is worth Fiji going into deficit to rebuild its infrastructure.
The 2013 Budget sets out a deficit, or overspend, of 122 million US dollars
Professor Biman Prasad says improving roading, and the like, could pave the way for future growth, as long as the planned return to democracy goes ahead.
“So looking at this expenditure and this deficit from that point of view, could possibly put in the foundation for future growth in 2014 and 2015, but obviously will depend on how the whole process and how transparent and how committed the government is to see through the elections in 2014.”
Professor Prasad says the extra funding for the electoral process ahead of the planned vote in 2014 also helps raise confidence in the economy.
Radio New Zealand International
8) Samoa Parliament Design, Construction On Track For 2013 Start
Australian government is funding Parliament complex project
APIA, Samoa (Talamua, Nov. 26, 2012) – The project to redevelop the Parliament Building and complex, Mulinu’u, is on track and construction is to commence in late 2013.
This follows the visit last week of a team of international technical specialists to make progress plans for the redevelopment of the Parliament Complex. This is the third visit by specialists this year for the project, which was announced by Australia’s Governor General Ms Quentin Bryce when she visited Samoa last March.
Besides design, the team conducted environmental, engineering and security assessments for the complex. The team confirmed that the project will include best-practice environmental design and a public consultation process on the final building design in mid-2013.
The project will be funded by the Government of Australia and managed by the Government of Samoa including the Legislative Assembly Office in collaboration with AusAID.
The project is seen as an exciting phase for the partnership between Australia and Samoa and will be an iconic symbol of Samoa’s democracy. The project is also a gift from the people of Australia in recognition of Samoa’s 50th anniversary of independence and of the importance of democratic institutions in Samoa.
During the consultations, the team met with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, the Speaker La’auli Leuatea Polataivao, the Leader of the Opposition Palusalue Faapo, Government ministries, NGOs, and leading figures in the building sector.
Tenders for the redevelopment of the complex are expected to be released in early 2013.
By Online Editor
3:20 pm GMT+12, 26/11/2012, SamoaThe acting Head of the University of the South Pacific School of Agriculture, Alafua Campus, Samoa, and Director of IRETA, Dr Muhammed Umar has denied allegations that USP stakeholders are pulling out from backing the school financially.
He also denied that this has resulted in a drop in student numbers and a move by some Melanesia groups to move the school of agriculture from Samoa to Fiji.
“I am not aware of any situation with stakeholders but I can say that we have an increase of students coming in to the school every year,” Dr Umar told Talamua in an exclusive interview.
He said that since he took over from the last director, “we have organized ourselves and have worked better.”
The Alafua Campus is the School of Agriculture of the regional University of the South Pacific and also houses the Institute of Research, Extension and Training in Agriculture – IRETA.
“For the School, the most important focus in on teaching and research and most of the students attending are from overseas. Fiji has the highest numbers of students followed by Vanuatu,” explained Dr Umar.
Dr Umar’s comments were verified by Senior Lecturer Dr Sonny Lameta. He said a drop in the number of students was noted in 2009. However, last year saw an increase in the number of overseas students in the school. He too denied the idea that stakeholders are pulling out.
“It’s impossible because this is a regional organization and that will never happen,” said Dr Lameta.
While he speaks highly of the number of overseas interest, he is disappointment by the interest of local students. Lameta said that Government offers 20 scholarships for Samoan students every year. “But they don’t take it.”
He believes if the school was in Fiji or elsewhere in the world, “our Samoan students will compete for a chance to be there.”
He did however propose for the school of agriculture which is divided into two sectors, the Agro Business and the Applied Science, for one of these to move to Fiji. Agro Business which is mainly to do with commercial farming and monies and the other with research, Dr Lameta believes that Samoa does not have enough resources to host both.
Dr Umar does not support the idea. He said that the USP Vice Chancellor in Fiji recently denied rumours that the school was in the brink of closure. He also notes that there are some people in the region who are pushing for the School’s relocation.
Dr Lameta agrees with Dr Umar that the university does have problems but it does not warrant stakeholders pulling out. He also believes that Samoa’s Prime Minister will never allow that to happen.
SOURCE: TALAMUA ONLINE/PACNEWS
By Online Editor
3:13 pm GMT+12, 26/11/2012, SamoaTravellers on Air New Zealand out of Samoa will begin paying higher fees for excess luggage tomorrow.
Passengers who pay for excess baggage at Faleolo Airport will be paying US$109 per additional piece, instead of US$65.
For an additional second piece, the charge will be 174 dollars, and for an additional third piece, the cost will be 218 US dollars more.
The charges apply to flights out of Samoa to New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands.
Overweight charge for bags over 23kg but under 32kg and oversized items will now cost US$109.
For flights departing Samoa to all other destinations, an additional piece will cost US$152, a second piece will cost an added $196 and a third additional piece will cost an added US$218.
Air NZ spokeswoman Marie Hosking says the higher excess fees will encourage customers to plan ahead and pre-purchase their baggage.
She said the charges reflect the cost of carrying additional weight on the aircraft, and the baggage fees does not constitute a large proportion of the company’s revenue stream.
By Online Editor
09:37 am GMT+12, 26/11/2012, KiribatiAn air force Orion crew on the way to search for three lost fishermen off Kiribati has found a damaged British yacht that went missing in a storm.
The Orion took off from Whenuapai on Sunday morning and en route made radio contact with the 13-metre cataraman Troutbridge, with one male sailor aboard, the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand said.
Fears were held for him after he lost contact with an accompanying yacht in a storm on Thursday night. They were sailing from Fiji to New Caledonia.
The sailor told the Orion crew that although the catamaran had suffered hull and rig damage and was leaking, pumps on board were working and he was sailing on to New Caledonia, which could take up to a week.
Search co-ordinator Mike Roberts said it was a great outcome to establish contact with the skipper of the Troutbridge.
“A lot of credit should go to the crew of the Orion. Now we’re also hoping for a positive result in the search for the fishermen off Kiribati.
“We’ve determined a search area of approximately 21,000 square kilometres which will be the focus of the aircraft’s search efforts.”
The fishermen are aboard a six-metre boat and were reported three days overdue south of Tarawa Island, Kiribati.
12)Foreign Workers In CNMI May Get 2-Year Immigration Extension
Workers group wants parole for all not just relatives of citizens
By Haidee V. Eugenio
SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Nov. 26, 2012) – On the heels of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Thanksgiving announcement that they will consider extending by up to two years, on a case-by-case basis, the parole of immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, a workers’ group is also asking USCIS to grant parole to nonresidents who are now “out of status” because of poor economic conditions.
“These workers came here legally and they had lawful status when the federal government took over CNMI immigration in 2009. Why is there no immigration remedy granted to them, only because they don’t have U.S. citizen children?” United Workers Movement-NMI president Rabby Syed told Saipan Tribune in a phone call from New York yesterday.
The Fitial administration has grave concerns about USCIS’ two-year parole extension, but there’s no telling yet whether the governor would tangle with USCIS over this decision.
The immediate relatives of U.S. citizens whose expiring parole will be considered for a two-year extension are covered in Delegate Gregorio Kilili Sablan’s (Ind-MP) H.R. 1466. Many of these nonresidents lost their jobs in recent years and months as the economy shrunk.
Syed said that long-term nonresidents without U.S. citizen children who lost their jobs because of the local economy’s slowdown are at a disadvantage because they do not have the same parole protection.
“These aliens are also qualified to have CW [Commonwealth-only worker] permits but right now they can’t find a job and are already out of status. On behalf of the United Workers Movement, I ask USCIS or DHS [Department of Homeland Security] to grant parole to all aliens who are out of status because of the economy,” he said.
Syed, however, has yet to write a formal request letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano as of yesterday.
But he said he will also be working with labor unions and other private entities and congressional offices on the U.S. mainland to “inform them of the situation in the CNMI.”
“President Obama said that when he was re-elected that there will be immigration reform. We hope they will consider granting green card [or a] pathway to citizenship to long-term aliens in the CNMI. The CNMI is different because these alien workers entered the CNMI legally,” he said.
Sablan said legislation in Congress has been developed over time that has a “place holder” specific to the CNMI, although there’s no information yet on the specific proposal for the CNMI’s foreign workers.
Press secretary Angel Demapan earlier said it is still unclear why USCIS would take action proceeded on the basis that a new law would come into effect, referring to the two-year parole extension consideration for those covered by Sablan’s HR 1466.
“In this case, not only did ’tomorrow’ not come, but there seems a low likelihood that a law proposing a large influx of individuals who would otherwise not be permitted to enter U.S. soil will be passed,” he added.
Saipan Tribune: http://www.saipantribune.com
13)Academic suggests better scrutiny of trade deals to ensure food sovereignty
Posted at 03:40 on 26 November, 2012 UTC
A Monash University academic, Dr Jagjit Plahe says Pacific Island countries should take a closer look at free trade agreements before entering into them.
Dr Plahe’s research in the region has found freer international trade is moving Pacific countries away from creating food sovereignty for their citizens.
Dr Plahe says most developing nations sign up to international trade treaties in order to be part of a bigger market, but they must also give up a lot.
“Vanuatu acceeded to the WTO [World Trade Organisation] under very onerous terms. The kind of terms they agreed to were not even agreed to by Australia. So a very small country with 200,000 people is agreeing to these terms where they are actually relinquishing their control over agriculture.”
Dr Plahe says the study’s wide cross section of interviews found agreement that local people should be able to feed themselves, have the rights to resources and have more of a say in agricultural policies, particularly those related to trade.
Radio New Zealand International
14)Vanuatu: Kalkot Mataskelekele s’oppose aux motions de censure
Disons que l’ancien Président du Vanuatu souhaite rendre moins facile le dépôt d’une motion de censure.
Il appelle pour cela à l’amendement de la Constitution. En effet, à peine élu lundi dernier, le Premier ministre Sato Kilman faisait déjà l’objet de menaces de motion de censure, ce qui augure mal de la stabilité politique au Vanuatu dans les prochaines semaines.
Kalkot Mataskelekele, qui menait hier un atelier pour les nouveaux députés, estime qu’il faudrait au pays un système similaire à celui de la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, où aucune motion de censure ne peut être déposée durant les premiers 18 mois après les élections.
15) Réintégration de Fidji dans l’ACP
Le sommet des 15 pays du Pacifique membres du groupe ACP s’est clos à Port-Moresby, la capitale papoue en fin de semaine dernière.
Le groupe ACP a été fondé par la Convention de Lomé en 1975. C’est un programme de coopération qui lie aujourd’hui les 27 Etats de l’Union Européenne et 79 pays d’Afrique, des Caraïbes et du Pacifique. La convention repose essentiellement sur des préférences tarifaires qui permettent aux pays ACP d’accéder plus facilement aux pays européens. Elle prévoit aussi des fonds spéciaux garantissant la stabilité des prix à l’achat pour les produits agricoles et miniers.
Au centre des discussions de ce sommet du groupe Pacifique de l’ACP: la réintégration de Fidji, qui n’a pas participé aux sommets depuis sa suspension du Forum des Iles du Pacifique en 2009. Suspension elle-même motivée par une autre suspension, celle de la Constitution à Fidji, décidée par le Premier ministre Franck Bainimarama. On écoute l’analyse de Stephen Ratuva, chercheur au Centre des Etudes du Pacifique à l’Université d’Auckland en Nouvelle-Zélande:
«Le groupe Pacifique de l’ACP réunit les principaux pays du Pacifique à part l’Australie et la Nouvelle-Zélande. Donc il est bien plus facile pour les Etats insulaires du Pacifique d’imposer la présence de Fidji dans le cadre de l’ACP, même si, j’en suis sûr, les gouvernements australien et néo-zélandais ne doivent pas voir cela d’un très bon œil. Mais la réintégration de Fidji dans le groupe ACP est certainement un premier pas vers sa réintégration, à terme, au sein du Forum des Iles du Pacifique.»
Pourtant Stephen Ratuva estime que cela prendra encore du temps, et que cette réintégration de Fidji au sein du Forum des Iles du Pacifique pourrait en réalité ne se faire qu’après la tenue des élections démocratiques promises en 2014 par le Premier ministre par intérim Franck Bainimarama. En attendant, l’économie devrait aller plus vite que la politique :
«L’ACP est par essence une organisation économique, tandis que le Forum est une institution politique, même s’il intervient dans les négociations de libre-échange entre le Pacifique et le reste du monde. Or les petites nations du Pacifique ont vitalement besoin de nouer des liens avec l’Union européenne, et elles sont bien conscientes du rôle-clé de Fidji dans l’économie du Pacifique. Déjà sur le plan logistique, c’est la plaque-tournante de la région.»
Mais il n’y a pas que Fidji, la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée est la deuxième locomotive économique de la région, et c’est bien elle qui a provoqué la réintégration de Fidji dans le groupe ACP :
«Fidji et la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée ont récemment et séparément signé des accords économiques avec l’Union européenne. Et les petits Etats insulaires veulent aussi conclure ce genre d’accords, mais ils aimeraient que ce soit une négociation collective avec l’Union européenne. Le groupe Pacifique de l’ACP ne peut fonctionner que si la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée et Fidji sont actifs. D’autre part, Fidji est réintégré au groupe ACP parce qu’il a des liens économiques très forts avec la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée. Les flux de capitaux entre les deux pays ont augmenté, et ils représenteront 80% de l’activité économique du Pacifique dans 10 ans. Donc c’est bien la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée qui a poussé pour réintégrer Fidji, et pour des raisons avant tout économiques.»
Stephen Ratuva, chercheur à l’Université d’Auckland, répondait aux questions de Géraldine Coutts sur Radio Australie.
By Online Editor
12:40 pm GMT+12, 26/11/2012, SamoaSamoa have been the big movers on the IRB world rankings as the cutoff point approaches for the Rugby World Cup pool allocation draw.
The high-flying Samoans have surged into eighth spot on the IRB’s officials rankings list, meaning they will now be part of the second band (fifth to eighth-ranked sides) when the World Cup pools are drawn on December 3 in London.
And Tonga’s fabulous upset of Scotland at the weekend has seen the island side surge past the Scots into 11th on the IRB rankings list. The 10th-placed Italians are now in their sights.
This weekend’s final two matches in the north (England v NZ and Wales v Australia) will be the official cutoff point for the World Cup draw bands, though the top four cannot be hauled in regardless of what happens.
That means fourth-ranked France will join southern superpowers New Zealand, South Africa and Australia in the top band, with each to be distributed in separate pools for the RWC.
The next four now includes Samoa, who have surged to eighth on the back of a big win over Canada, an upset against Wales in Cardiff and a resolute 22-14 defeat to France at the weekend.
However seventh-ranked Wales, who are hovering dangerously near the cusp of the top eight, still have plenty to play for as they look to halt a six-test losing skid when they host the Wallabies this weekend.
A seventh straight Welsh defeat would see Warren Gatland’s side drop outside the top eight and face landing in a potential group of death for 2015,
If Wales avoid defeat against Australia, they will take one of the other two spots in the second band along with Samoa, with Argentina in the third band.
However, if Australia defeat Wales, then Samoa and Argentina will fill these two spots in the second band, with Wales joining Italy, Tonga and Scotland in the third band of seeds for the pool allocation draw.
England and Ireland are guaranteed to be in the second band of seeds.
Provisional IRB world rankings
1 New Zealand – 92.91
2 South Africa – 86.94
3 Australia – 86.31
4 France – 85.07
5 England – 81.07
6 Ireland – 80.22
7 Wales – 78.95
8 Samoa – 78.71
9 Argentina – 78.71
10 Italy – 76.24
11 Tonga – 76.10
12 Scotland – 75.83 .
By Online Editor
12:37 pm GMT+12, 26/11/2012, New ZealandSadly it appears the All Blacks’ appetite to play Samoa, Tonga or Fiji outside of a World Cup is at a low ebb.
New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew confirmed last week the prospects of tests against any of the Pacific Island nations was unlikely for the next seven years.
“The calendar is obviously full and there are only certain windows when the island countries would get their best players back from Europe and elsewhere. The options for timing anything extra are severely limited,” Tew said.
But Samoa’s stirring 26-19 win over Wales at Millennium Stadium has brought the issue to light in the same week the All Blacks arrived in Cardiff.
Samoa’s win was further evidence Pacific nations are capable of competing with tier-one countries under the new IRB’s Future Tours schedule, which requires European clubs to release players for test duties.
The schedule, which is in place through to 2019, is a major boost for Pacific rugby with Scotland playing away to Fiji and Samoa this year, and Wales set to visit the islands in 2017.
There is also provision for Samoa, Tonga and Fiji to tour Europe annually. This month has seen an unprecedented number of matches, with Samoa playing tests against France and Wales, Fiji playing England and the Ireland Wolfhounds, and Tonga playing Scotland and Italy.
But there appear to be no IRB provisions for any of the Pacific teams to play the All Blacks, who have played just three tests against them, one against Samoa and two against Fiji, since 2004.
One-off tests outside the IRB window are largely a waste of time competitively and commercially with the All Blacks 101-14 scoreline against Samoa in New Plymouth in 2008 a prime example.
One wonders, though, why the IRB could not schedule a home and away June series between the sides?
The IRB did not return calls on the issue, but Tew railed against the suggestion the lack of contact was a poor reflection on the NZRU.
“We don’t like perceptions that are not a fair reflection of the commitment we’ve made,” he said. “There are other ways that we can support rugby in the Pacific Islands. One is we continue to select their players in Super Rugby despite the fact they are ineligible for All Blacks selection.
“That assists some of their players stay closer to home and be eligible for and easily available for the islands.
“We certainly don’t play any of the games that allegedly are played by some of the clubs in Europe.”
Tew also took exception to the suggestion the All Blacks were not doing enough to help develop the world game.
“One thing that’s forgotten in this debate is we were very strong supporters of getting Argentina into the Rugby Championship,” he said. “That took a lot of arranging and we’re now seeing the benefits of that. But we can’t fit everything that needs to be done into our diary.
“We have a very clear conscience in terms of our commitment to island rugby. We know there’s a strong desire for the All Blacks to play there and, look, at some point we may well but it’s just very hard right now to know how we could fit that in and realistically make it work commercially.
“While we are committed to supporting the islands our first responsibility is to New Zealand rugby.” .
SOURCE: FAIRFAX NZ/PACNEWS