Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 810

1) Wok long PNG em blong pipol long PNG

Updated 19 February 2013, 13:55 AEST

Wanpela palamen memba long Papua New Guinea i tokaut long kain pasin ol pipol blong narapela kantri i kisim ol wok we ol pipol blong PNG yet i nap wokim.

PNG MP Potape i toktok wantaim Paulus Kombo (Credit: ABC)
Piksa: Ol PNG wokman

Memba blong Komo-Margarima long niupela Hela Province, Francis Potape itok PNG igat planti ol save man-meri we i nap wokim ol wok we planti ol pipol blong narapela kantri i nau kisim long kantri.

Na em i laik long gavman i mekim riviu long painim aut gut long ol work permit we Department blong Labour na Industrial Relations i givim long ol pipol blong autsait.

Mr Potape  i laik tu long gavman i gat wanpela rejistri o rekod blong olgeta graduate na pipol blong PNG husat igat ol kainkain qualifikesen – tasol oli nogat wok.

Em itok igat planti tumas ol forena i go na kisim wok blong ol pipol blong PNG yet i save wokim na dispela i mas stop.

2) Border issues affecting ties: PNG Opposition leader
By Online Editor
1:21 pm GMT+12, 19/02/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Opposition leader Belden Namah has called on the PNG and Indonesian governments to immediately resolve border issues that were affecting their bilateral relations.

He said the recent incident at the border was related to traditional issues and it was important that the government negotiate for a permanent border at Timi River because the people of Wutung had land on both sides of the current border.

Namah, who is the Vanimo Green MP, said the government should also embark on building the border highway and develop townships to address issues such as poaching, illegal entry, gun smuggling, human trafficking and incursions by Indonesian soldiers.

He said establishing such facilities would enhance economic development and stop local people flocking across the borders to trade.

Namah said the Wutung people recently raised their concerns with the deputy prime minister but the government had not addressed these issues.

He added that both countries should also observe and respect the 10km buffer zone, which had been ignored
over the years.

Namah also called for an increase in the number of Defence Force soldiers deployed along the border areas to protect the people and safeguard state interests.

“We also seriously need to look at the issues and increase surveillance along our border as no one has taken up the talk about protecting our sovereignty,” he said.

Namah said similar measures should be taken for the international borders between the Solomon Islands and Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

3) Namah to refer PM O’Neill, Marape to Ombudsman Commission for corruption
By Online Editor
1:24 pm GMT+12, 19/02/2013, Papua New Guinea

The Opposition will refer  Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Finance Minister James Marape to the Ombudsman Commission for alleged corruption in office.

Speaking at a press conference in Port Moresby, opposition leader Belden Namah claimed O’Neill and Marape had deviated from their responsibilities as senior government officers by handling proceedings that were not within their positions.

He said this was a breach of the leadership code and it brought forward serious questions on their intentions regarding issues of public interest and concerns.

Namah questioned the PM’s capacity in assuring the country that the money plus the 200 land titles obtained for public servants in the K31.5 million (US$14.9 million) housing scheme at 8-Mile would be repaid.

Namah said O’Neill’s part in the failed housing scheme was “suspicious and contradicted facts obtained by the opposition”.

The opposition leader said Marape had withheld DSIP and PSIP cheques for provincial governments.

Namah said the finance secretary should have delivered to provincial and district governments and not to Marape.

He said Marape’s actions were not right which the opposition would pursue by referring him to the Ombudsman Commission for investigation.

Marape has denied the allegation, saying “the (DSIP and PSIP) cheques were slowly going out”.

Namah claimed that the DSIP and PSIP cheques were held as a ransom against MPs voting for the extension of the government’s grace period.

Namah said the actions by the two ministers were setting a bad precedence.

Meanwhile, the PNG government and parliament have been urged to respect the rights and dignity of members of the opposition to keep the parliamentary democracy alive.

Francis Potape, the Komo-Margarima MP and shadow minister for petroleum and energy, said the government and the speaker should not gag debates raised by the opposition on important issues of the country.

“We need democracy to be alive so we need to have a good opposition that is effective, that can keep the government responsible and can carry out checks and balances,” he said.

“An effective opposition is the core of any vibrant parliamentary democracy and our rights have to be maintained and respected.

“Our views have to be taken on board and considered and the government has to treat our concerns importantly rather than brushing aside important criticisms.”

Madang Governor Jim Kas also questioned the impartiality of Speaker Theo Zurenuoc.

He claimed Zurenuoc rejected questions from the opposition on the failed public servants housing scheme but allowed the government to ask questions on it.

“The Southern Highlands Governor William Powi asked the prime minister but did not allow the opposition to ask questions on the same issue. This is unfair,” Kas said.

He said they had the same rights to ask questions of national importance and that had to be respected.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

4)New climate change policy for PNG next month
By Online Editor
5:38 pm GMT+12, 18/02/2013, Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea  government will have a policy on climate change by the end of next month, Minister for Forest and Climate Change Patrick Pruaitch told parliament last Friday.

He said this would be the first climate policy since former prime minister Sir Michael Somare signed the Kyoto Protocol in 2008.

Pruaitch said the non-existence of a policy was due to lack of leadership and the transfer of functions from one department to another during the past five years.

He said since assuming office he had pushed for a draft policy framework that would be submitted to the National Executive Council for approval before tabling it in Parliament in March.

The minister said this in response to questions by Madang Governor Jim Kas about the country’s stand and policy on climate change.

Pruaitch assured Kas that the country would have a clear law on climate change which was affecting atolls and islands, especially in the New Islands region.

He added that the new climate change policy would be home-grown with no influence from foreigners, except some advice from consultants in the initial stage.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

5)PNG Vice Chancellor denied re-entry
By Online Editor
1:09 pm GMT+12, 19/02/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea University of Technology Vice Chancellor, Dr Albert Schram, has been denied re-entry into PNG while attempting to return for the opening of the academic year.

Dr Schram told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat that he received no explanation from officials about his deportation.

Immigration officials detained the Dutch national when he returned to Port Moresby earlier this month before placing him on a flight to Australia.

Dr Schram says that he is unclear about the reasons behind the incident, despite rumours his work permit had been revoked.

“I’ve never been legally dismissed in PNG so the reasons being given bare no relations to the fact,” he said.

“That is why I’ve asked my embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Canberra to ask for a reason, because I am still in the dark.”

The university has raised questions over Dr Schram’s credentials.

Minister for Higher Education, David Arore, confirmed to local media that Dr Schram was put back on the flight to Brisbane but denied it was a deportation.

“It’s not a deportation, but Dr Schram was not allowed to come into the country until all investigations are complete,” Arore said.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

6)PNG gives mining giant a hurry-up
By Online Editor
5:29 pm GMT+12, 18/02/2013, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guineans are concerned that mining company Xstrata is yet to gauge the likely environmental impact of a copper mine in West Sepik province.

The government is asking the multi-national mining group to make a final investment decision on its Frieda River project.

The Mining Minister, Byron Chan, says the government wants to know if Swiss-based Xstrata is going ahead with development of the mine.

He said the company has a licence to develop copper deposits it has found. But it has yet to complete an environmental impact assessment for approval.

The provincial government of West Sepik wants to know the status of the planned operations, he said.

Chan said: “I am determined to make sure they develop this project. (Or) if not, I have been given the assurance by (local) leaders to determine the future of Xstrata mining in the country.

“However . .. we will allow them the normal process and we will look at ways to assist this project.”

Development of the remote site at Telefomin is estimated to cost nearly $US5.6 billion.

Chan said the government was willing to absorb some of the huge infrastructure costs.

The member for Ambunti-Drekikir, Tony Aimo, whose electorate neighbours the Telefomin site, said he is anxious to avoid a repeat of the pollution of the Fly River in Western Province by the Ok Tedi mine…

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

7)PNG concerned about illicit genetic material patenting

Posted at 02:46 on 19 February, 2013 UTC

Papua New Guinea has been warned some of its plant material has been patented by third parties outside the country.

A lawyer and executive director of the PNG Business Council, Douveri Henao, says PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu need to develop protocols and procedures for the safe exchange of genetic material between the three countries.

The Post Courier reports Mr Henao as saying this material patented overseas is open for commercial exploitation at the expense of PNG.

The director of National Agriculture Institute, Dr Raghunath Ghodake, says they want the government to commit to the International Treaty on Biodiversity.

He says if PNG does not act quickly to protect the genetic resources of its plants and the research by its scientists, it will lose out on the benefits that should be derived.

Radio New Zealand International

8) Autonomous Bougainville News

180213WOMEN IN BUSINESS MEET
By Aloysius Laukai

If the 500 plus women of Bougainville who registered for the Two days training for Women in Business this morning is any indicator of the kind of desire to run their Businesses Bougainville may soon be controlled by women as Bosses recruiting men as their workers.

This morning in Buka saw more than 300 women, some who are already operating businesses registered to attend the Training workshop which would be facilitated by Office Dynamics based in Port Moresby.

Executives of the Bougainville Women in Business Association last week held a open forum at the BEL ISI PARK in Buka disputing this training disputing that the Vice President was not mandated to run the training and charge fees.

But this morning, NEW DAWN FM talked to the PRESIDENT of the Bougainville Women in Business, MARY SAHOTO who said that she supported the initiative of her Vice President to source much needed training for Bougainville women who want to go into Business or are already operating one.

The ABG Minister for Community Development responsible for Women’s and Children’s Affairs, MELCHIO DARE officially opened the training citing collaboration between the women and men of Bougainville to do business.

The Minister said that since his appointment as the Minister last August he has been trying his best to assist Bougainville women to improve their standard of living.

He said that the two-days training was not a mistake for the women of Bougainville as since creation God has always put women beside her partner, and not in front or at the back of him.

The ABG Minister said that today both the National Government and the ABG are preaching about gender equality in every aspect of life.

He said as the Minister representing the women in the Momis/Nisira government, it is the ABG’s directive for my Ministry to see women in the region prosper in everything they chose to venture into, weather in Business, their professional jobs or family responsibilities, this prosperity must be seen as an achievement in life for all women.

The Minister said that by attending this training, you will be equipped to identify what you already have been managing as a woman in your own setting.

He encouraged the women to concentrate and grasp as much from the training as there might not be a second opportunity to attend similar training in future.

The Minister also promised to sponsor another similar workshops in the three regions of North, Central and South Bougainville if this training is successful.

The two-day training was sponsored by the National member for North Bougainville Member, LAUTA ATOI.

Participants for this training came from as far as Buin in South Bougainville and Tasman islands in North Bougainville.

180213 KAUVA ON PEACE BUILDING
By Aloysius Laukai

The ABG Minister for Peace and Reconciliation, NEWTON KAUVA says that real peace has no money attached to it but comes from the heart.

The minister made these comments at the recent launching of the PANGUNA PEACE BUILDING STRETAGY in Panguna.

He said money should not be used as an excuse for prolonging any outstanding reconciliation that needs to be completed throughout Bougainville as we prepare for referendum in two years time.

The Minister also apologized on behalf of the President who was overseas and could not attend the launching stating all government members and Ministers including the deputy Speaker and member for TERA, Robin Wilson were there as a sign of government solidarity for the Launching.

The Chief Administrator, LAWRENCE DISIN and his administration continued with another three-days induction at the PANGUNA District Office.

180213SPEAKER ALERT
By Aloysius Laukai

The ABG Speaker ANDREW MIRIKI wants all stakeholders in the Bougainville Peace Process to accelerate all activities that is aimed towards referendum and the final status for Bougainville.

MR. MIRIKI said that he was very concerned that the process was slow and the timeline was just two years remaining.

He called on the ABG President and his cabinet to fast track all activities towards preparing for the referendum which must be held between 2015 and 2020.

MR. MIRIKI said that the region has to urgently train a workforce that is capable of covering all sectors of Bougainville’s economy once the people decide their political future through the referendum.

He said that focus now must be placed on training all the manpower that the region would require in future starting with the establishment of technical schools in the region.

On the Ex combatants, MR. MIRIKI called on them to make real and meaningful contributions towards the peace process.

He said that the ex-combatants started the fight for independence and they must end it now.

The ABG Speaker said that the former combatants can be re-trained as security officers to support the current Police strength which is too thinly spread across the region.

He also called on the Education division to develop programs that can provide the opportunity and facilitate their entry into mainstream formal education system.

9) Solomon Islands Government organises memorial service for Tsunami victims
By Online Editor
4:00 pm GMT+12, 19/02/2013, Solomon Islands

A national memorial Service for the victims of the recent tsunami disaster that struck the Solomon Islands Temotu Province, will be held tomorrow at the St Barnabas Cathedral.

The national memorial service to begin at 11am has been organized by the Ministry of Home Affairs in collaboration with various churches and schools in Honiara.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs, Mannaseh Maelanga explained that the memorial service was organized mainly to show support to the tsunami victims.

Those that are in other Provinces can join the program by tuning in through the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Cooperation live service coverage.

Ministry of Home Affairs has also authorised a half day work notice for all public servants.

All flags are also to fly at half mast from dawn till dusk on Wednesday to show solemn solidarity and respect for the tsunami victims.

Meanwhile, the royal couple, who visited the Pacific islands last year, said they were “very saddened” to hear about the quake.

Prince William and Kate Middleton have sent a heartfelt letter of support to residents of the Solomon Islands whose homes have been destroyed by a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

In a message to the country’s Governor General Sir Frank Kabui, they added: “We pray that the resilience of and neighbourliness of Solomon Islanders, which we experienced during our visit last year will help you through this difficult time.

“Please pass on our thoughts to all those in the emergency services and local authorities, who are faced with the task of saving and rebuilding lives.

“Please be assured of our thoughts and prayers over the coming weeks.”

Kate, 31, and William, 30, were welcomed to the islands’ capital Honiara last year by crowds of 70,000 lining the streets.

They were treated to traditional music and dancing displays before being carried through the main street on a war canoe on top of a mini van.

SOURCE: SOLOMON TIMES ONLINE/MIRROR.CO.UK/PACNEWS

10) Solomon Islands Electoral Commission warns candidates
By Online Editor
3:57 pm GMT+12, 19/02/2013, Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands Electoral Commission has warned contesting candidates to be vigilant and to make sure their act of campaigning is legitimate.

“Elections have laws that guide candidates, officials and voters and the general public and individuals that are in breached of these laws or electoral offenses face their penalties when found guilty in court.”

“There are several election petitions court cases that have been filed in the past against winning candidates and officials and have resulted in some candidates losing their parliamentary seats,”said Polycap Haununu.

“This should be a lesson learnt for all contesting candidates who will be standing for Ngella Parliamentary seat this coming by-election. They should be reminded of the bribery and voter influences court case scenarios and should ensure that their actions are within the bounds of law”, Haununu said.

He urged candidates to assist Electoral Commission to avoid such scenarios and consequences happening again.
He also calls on the general public to be careful and cautious in their involvement in this whole election process since the Electoral law does not apply for candidates only but for all, both officials and voters as-well.

The Election law is in effect as soon as the Governor General announces the date for the election”, Haununu re-emphasized.

“Once the Returning Officer has accepted the nomination form and a $2,000 (US$273) nomination fee from candidates during the nomination period, a candidate officially begins their campaign under the laws governing campaigning practices. A candidate must not spend more than $50,000 (US$6, 845) during this campaign period, and must submit an account of their expenditure to the Returning Officer after the election”, He continued.

The Electoral Commission calls on everyone to take responsibility for enforcing these electoral laws. If people see people breaking these laws, they should report the matter to their local police officer.

SOURCE: SOLOMON TIMES ONLINE/PACNEWS

11) Choiseul chief tells of devastation by loggers in Solomons province

Posted at 06:00 on 19 February, 2013 UTC

A tribal leader in the Solomon Islands province of Choiseul says loggers in his area are devastating the environment.

Gendley Galo is the chief of the Rege tribe, related to the Taplakana tribe, in north east Choiseul.

He says a logging company operating on Taplakana land has destroyed mangroves and used rocks from a seawall and cemetery for a wharf.

Mr Galo says when he approached the provincial forestry centre in Choiseul’s capital, Taro, he was told the province lacks the authority to implement the provisions of the forestry act.

“It was a terrible sight to see when the company is establishing the log pond at Taplakana land, devastating about two hectares of mangrove that had been cut.”

Gendley Galo says he wants serious compensation for the company’s unauthorised crossing of a river to use rocks from the cemetery where his grandfather is buried.

Radio New Zealand International

12) New sea lifeline for Vanuatu
By Online Editor
3:55 pm GMT+12, 19/02/2013, Vanuatu

Vanuatu is to get a new sea lifeline, in the face of infrequent ferry services and wharves succumbing to the ravages of wind and waves.

Xianbin Yao, of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), says sea connections are vital for the economic health of people in the outer islands, where 80 per cent of the population live.

The country’s scattered islands depend on ships to connect them to each other and to the capital, Port Vila.
Some islands see a visiting ship only three times a year.

Now the bank and the governments of Vanuatu and New Zealand are combining to rebuild the infrastructure and upgrade shipping services.

The five-year project will cost more than $US26 million and will include building a new inter-island ferry terminal in Port Vila, and new jetties on Malekula, Ambae, Tanna and Pentecost.

To improve transport, he said it had already been found through similar projects in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands that cost-effectiveness came from contracted-out ferry services.

In this, ferry companies were paid on performance, Yao said.

Yao said not only would better transport get help islanders produce to Port Vila while at its peak value, but health and education needed better inter-islands connections.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

13) Chief Justice re-emphasizes appeal for new courts

Posted on February 19, 2013 – 10:24am |

By
Bob Makin

Justice Lunabek spoke of the component of this programme devoted to Strategic Improvement following an assessment by Jennifer Ehmann of the Vanuatu courts and registry. These improvements fall into four distinct categories which will be the subject of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Court of Australia and the Supreme Court of Vanuatu.

New Zealand funding and the Federal Court of Australia manage a regional cooperation programme called the Pacific Judicial Development Programme and this – along with a new court building – became a key topic in the speech of Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek for the 2013 official opening of the court year.

The first area of improvement is Case Management. There is seen to be a need for greater efficiency and effectiveness as regards cases under Supreme Court management. The introduction of new technology may well be able to improve procedures for both criminal and civil matters and workshops for judges should be able to lead to a consistency of case management which can be the subject of a Guide to Case Management in the Supreme Court of Vanuatu.

Court and Prosecutions staff will also be involved in their own workshops and registry tasks will possibly be re-allocated. There were judicial observations of shortcomings in the prosecutions service during 2012 and the involvement of Prosecutions staff in the Strategic Improvement plan may well reduce such complaints. Technology use will be based on a sector wide approach, and technology is seen as being important by all the participating agencies.
Probably most important in Chief Justice Lunabek’s address were his references to access to justice. These started by his speaking of remote and disadvantaged communities and how important it is to identify the needs, priorities and costs of equipping distant communities or island centres.

http://www.dailypost.vu/content/chief-justice-re-emphasizes-appeal-new-courts

14) Shefa benefits from ‘Vois blong Provins’ Radio Program

Posted on February 19, 2013 – 11:02am |

By
Len Garae
SG Kalworai receives equipment from TBV Production Manager Liu.

Shefa’s Provincial Headquarters is located approximately one hundred metres up the slope from the VBTC premises but it is only now that the AusAID funded ‘Vois blong Provins’ radio programme has arrived at their doorstop in the form of a two-day television programme preparation course.

Vois blong Provins’ trainer Sloan Fred was accompanied by Television Production Manager Stevenson Liu who presented camera equipment for the staff of Shefa Prvoince to use to prepare their ‘Vois blong Provins’ programmes for airing on TBV.

In his remarks, the SG of Shefa Kalworai thanked TBV and Stevenson Liu and Sloan Fred for the assistance saying it is going to be a ‘hit’ for the people of Shefa Province to get their development news aired on the screen once a week. “It is important for the public to know that is happening in our Province. It also calls for the importance to archive our history, our present and our future for our generations to come to know what it was like in our time,” the SG said.
The TBV Production Manager said the television camera and stand blong to TBV and he encouraged the media team from Shefa to make good use of it.
If anything goes wrong with it then it has to be returned to TBV for repair.

In this programme instead of just a voice coming out of the radio about what is happening in Shefa, six media officers have been trained to operate the camera and ask constructive question to get the anwers on camera for the programme.

http://www.dailypost.vu/content/shefa-benefits-‘vois-blong-provins’-radio-program

15) New Caledonian farmers to get payout after Freda damage

Posted at 06:00 on 19 February, 2013 UTC

The New Caledonian government has decided that more than two million US dollars will be given to farmers affected by tropical depression Freda at the end of December.

It says the funds will be disbursed from the farmers’ insurance scheme and see payments go 540 members territory-wide.

Last month, the French overseas territories minister said heavy rain and high winds brought by Freda caused damage worth ten million US dollars in New Caledonia.

The minister, Victorin Lurel, said at thetime almost all damage reported was to public buildings.

Radio New Zealand International

16) COVER REPORT: Selling nickel to Asia

SMSP transforms New Caledonian mining

Nic Maclellan

New Caledonia’s nickel industry is being transformed as new joint ventures and exports to Asia challenge France’s control of the strategic minerals sector.
New Caledonia holds more than 25 percent of the world’s nickel reserves, as well as other strategic metals. The mining, processing and export of these ores are central to New Caledonia’s political as well as economic future, as the country moves to a new political status after 2014.
The FLNKS independence movement sees the control of the islands’ major industry as a key part of their struggle.
Historically, New Caledonia’s nickel sector has been dominated by Société le Nickel (SLN), a subsidiary of the French corporation ERAMET, which in turn is controlled by the French government through its FSI strategic investment fund. But there has long been tension between the French state and local New Caledonian interests over the management of the industry.
During the nickel boom of the late 1960s and 1970s, SLN lobbied the French government to restrict investment from overseas competitors.
SLN’s dominant position was assisted by the 1969 Billotte laws, which increased Paris’ control of mining regulation, transferred the authority to set export quotas to the French Ministry of Industry and effectively restricted access by Canadian and Australian nickel companies.
For decades, SLN has operated New Caledonia’s only nickel smelter at Doniambo in Noumea, powered by the Yate hydro-electricity scheme. But in a period of European economic woe and expanding Asian economies, times are changing and SLN is not the only game in town.
Today, the Brazilian corporation Vale is building a major processing plant at Goro in the south-east of the main island. But the major breakthrough in “economic rebalancing”—a central pillar of the 1998 Noumea Accord—is the new industrial activity in the Northern Province, where the population is largely Kanak.
Recognising the importance of the mining sector for economic development, the FLNKS independence movement negotiated to break ERAMET-SLN’s control in the 1990s.

Boom times in the north
The Noumea Accord was only signed in May 1998 after ERAMET and the French government agreed to a préalable minière (mining pre-condition), with the signing of the Bercy Accord in February that year.
Under this deal, SLN ceded major nickel reserves at Koniambo to Société minière du sud Pacifique (SMSP), a mining company majority controlled by the Northern Province’s local government.
New Caledonia’s three provincial governments also obtained shares in SLN, as a contribution to economic “rebalancing” that is a core element of New Caledonia’s decolonisation process.
New Caledonia’s capital Noumea and the surrounding Southern Province have long hosted much of the country’s economic infrastructure.
But today, driving north to the provincial capital of Kone, you can see a range of activities which are transforming the rural north.
There are new roads and roundabouts, industrial construction, housing estates and commercial operations along the corridor known as “VKP”, linking the west coast towns of Voh, Kone and Pouembout.
The centre piece of all this change is the “projet du nord”—the construction of a processing plant in the north, which will end SLN’s long-held monopoly of nickel smelting.
But there are spinoffs in all directions, with new cultural, sporting and educational facilities across the province.
In 2012, the Agence de Développement de la Culture Kanak (ADCK) opened a branch in Kone, as did the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI).
In early 2013, the Pentecost group will complete the giant Teari commercial centre with supermarkets and shops at Green Acre (a new subdivision south of Kone), costing 1.4 billion Pacific francs.
The pace of construction is so great that a subsidiary of the Australian corporation BlueScope Steel is building a steel fabrication plant in the Northern Province to complement its existing factory in Noumea.
As the project got underway in 2008, the President of the Northern Province Paul Neaoutyine outlined his vision in an interview with ISLANDS BUSINESS: “Building the Northern smelter has long been an objective of the FLNKS, not only to rebalance the economy between the provinces, but also to show that New Caledonia can be independent.
“We need projects of sufficient weight to turn things around. This is the whole challenge of economic rebalancing, which we started discussing in the Matignon-Oudinot Accords of 1988.”
The driving force of the Northern Province’s transformation is the Société minière du sud Pacifique (SMSP), led by President and CEO Andre Dang.
Dang is a long-time supporter of the FLNKS and a close friend of the late independence leader Jean-Marie Tjibaou.
Starting as a garage owner, Dang made his fortune importing cars and trucks to New Caledonia.
He moved into a leading role with SMSP after the November 2000 death of SMSP President Raphael Pidjot in a helicopter crash – an accident that many Kanaks still regard as suspicious.
Controlled by the Northern Province’s holding company SOFINOR, SMSP has diversified its operations through a number of joint ventures and subsidiaries.
The Northern smelter project is run by Koniambo Nickel SAS (KNS), a partnership between SMSP and the major UK-Swiss corporation Xstrata.
Along with Cotransmine (shipping and stevedoring), SMSP also has two joint ventures with the Korean group Posco: the Nickel Mining Company (NMC) and the nickel processing company Société du Nickel de Nouvelle-Calédonie et Corée (SNNC).
Although it relies on overseas technology, capital and expertise, SMSP has retained a 51 percent interest in all its joint ventures.
In recent years, SMSP has become a leading exporter of nickel ore on the global stage, with exports to Australia, Japan and Ukraine.
Since June 2006, SMSP has also been supplying the Chinese market through a deal with China’s Ningbo Corporation.
But the centrepiece of SMSP’s re-alignment of the nickel industry is the Koniambo project. SMSP is developing mineral reserves from the Koniambo massif, with an estimated 21 square kilometres of high grade nickel in this central mountain range.
The ore is transported over the mountains to a newly constructed processing plant at Vavouto. This complex, located north of the provincial capital Kone, includes a smelter, processing plant, power station, port and industrial zone.
Since 2008, the joint venture KNS has been sending local Kanak workers to French-speaking Quebec for training, but now the project is moving from the construction phase to preliminary testing of the smelter, with production to begin early this year.
The ore preparation plant and overland conveyer are in operation, with a second production line scheduled to be complete by mid-2013.

Deals with Korea and China
To raise capital for its share of the US$5 billion Koniambo-Vavouto project, SMSP has struck two major deals, firstly in Korea and now in China.
SMSP has increased exports of lower grade base minerals that are unsuitable for processing by KNS and will use the profits to invest in operations at Vavouto. Dang’s strategy has been denounced by some anti-independence leaders, who have criticised the increased export of ore without value adding.
But SMSP is seeking to provide an alternative to reliance on French capital, by feeding the booming economies of Asia.
So far, the joint venture SNNC project has been a major success for SMSP and its Korean partner Posco.
Through its subsidiary Nickel Mining Company (NMC), SMSP exports up to 1.8 million tonnes of ore to Korea each year from mines at Ouaco, Poya, Nakety and Kouaoua (there are nearly 90 million tonnes of reserves, allowing exports to continue for decades).
SNNC uses these lower grade ores to feed a processing plant at Gwangyang, producing crude ferronickel (which contains about 20 per cent nickel and 80 percent iron).
Although production only began in 2008, SMSP and Posco have already agreed to expand operations at Gwangyang from mid-2014.
Using a $450 million investment to build a second electric smelting furnace and rotary kiln, with extra port and storage facilities, SNNC aims to increase production from 30,000 to 54,000 tonnes of ferronickel each year.
Last June, members of the Northern Province assembly travelled to Korea to inspect the proposed expansion of the Gwangyang plant.
Two months later, a Korean delegation arrived in New Caledonia to inspect new mine sites in the Northern Province.
The rapid growth of the Korean operation has sparked interest in other quarters, leading to a new deal with the state-owned Chinese corporation Jinchuan (the third largest nickel producer in the world, after Norilsk Nickel and Vale).
After nearly four years of discussions, SMSP signed an initial partnership MOU with Jinchuan in June 2011.
In a rare coup, SMSP retains a 51 percent majority in the partnership after Chinese authorities amended a law last year that bans majority control by a foreign corporation in China’s metallurgy sector.
Through the Caledonian Chinese Mining Company (CMCC), SMSP and Jinchuan will build a nickel processing plant in Guangxi, located in southern China near the border of Vietnam.
The plant, scheduled to begin operations in 2017, will use laterite minerals from the east coast of New Caledonia’s Northern Province.
The project, worth US$1 billion, aims to produce 30,000 tonnes of nickel hydroxide and 3,000 tonnes of cobalt a year.

Debate over the future
In spite of these successes, there is still extensive debate in New Caledonia about the scale and timing of the SMSP initiatives.
The decision to process more resources offshore has been criticised by anti-independence leaders like Frogier and Pierre Bretegnier of the Rassemblement UMP party (RUMP).
In turn, FLNKS leaders have criticised ERAMET-SLN for its failure to develop processing capacity for lower grade minerals.
In the Northern Province, there is some community concern about the rapid development along the VKP corridor, and how economic benefits will be shared with Kanak tribes along the east coast and in the vast mountain range that divides New Caledonia’s main island.
A key priority is to expand opportunities for local contracting, provide employment opportunities for women and training for young Kanak villagers.
Local NGOs seek better regulation of the inevitable environmental impacts from the mining and industrial production.
Since 2010, the Comité stratégique industriel (CSI) led by French public servant Anne Duthilleul has been looking at strategic options for the future of the nickel industry.
But Duthilleul’s recommendations, issued in late 2012, were widely criticised by a range of New Caledonian leaders for favouring the interests of SLN’s existing operations, rather than the SMSP’s new initiatives.
SLN’s major shareowners are ERAMET (56 percent) and Japan’s Nisshin Steel (10 percent), with New Caledonia’s three provinces controlling the remaining 34 percent through a public company Société Territoriale Calédonienne de Participation Industrielle (STPCI).
To further challenge control by the French government, independence leaders have suggested that the STPCI stake could be increased to 51 per cent. However, according to RUMP’s Pierre Bretegnier: “If the STPCI takes 51 percent of SLN, ERAMET will leave. It won’t have any reason to stay if it is a minority stakeholder.”
French attitudes to the Koniambo project have also been complicated by corporate manoeuvring between Xstrata and the Swiss-based corporation Glencore (the world’s biggest private metals trader), which already owns 34 percent of Xstrata’s shares.
Within months, a merger between Glencore and Xstrata should be finalised (Koniambo will start production regardless of the corporate restructuring).
The newer technology utilised by KNS and SNNC will produce more profitable results than SLN’s ageing Doniambo smelter in Noumea.
In recent months, President Harold Martin and other politicians have criticised SLN for its plan to construct a new 180-MW coal-fired power station to support Doniambo, at a time when New Caledonia is increasingly concerned about the impacts of climate change on rural bushfires, cyclones or the World Heritage-listed reef ecosystem.
However, SLN has its own expansion plans, looking at the development of new mine sites on the east coast, with the Stamboul mine (near Kouaoua) to feed the Doniambo smelter.
Future expansion of the sector will be governed by the global market for nickel products—a drop in demand in 2012 has raised some tremors.
In spite of all this, the deals with emerging Asian economies have threatened France’s long-time stranglehold over the strategic minerals sector. This ongoing challenge to French power has significant implications as supporters and opponents of independence head to the polls in 2014

17) Fiji’s Ambassador asks Japan to allow skilled workers
By Online Editor
09:05 am GMT+12, 19/02/2013, Fiji

Fiji could provide Japan with nurses, teachers, accountants and skilled construction workers, says Ambassador Isikeli Mataitoga.

Mataitoga discussed this over the weekend with Japanese politicians and said this would be possible if current programs could be slightly amended to allow technical training to be made available to Fiji on an intensive student exchange program.

He also highlighted the urgency to start the Nadi River Alignment project study which Japan has agreed to undertake.

He also asked for some flexibility in market entry for Fiji manufactured products.

Mataitoga said Japan could provide market opportunities for some products, with quotas, duty free.

He said this will be a ‘drop-in-the-ocean’ and would not disturb domestic commerce in Japan.

“For example Fiji goods produced by a Japanese owned company and using Japanese technology, which are environmentally sensitive, may be given a quota to import those products to Japan, duty free.”

He said Japanese investment in Fiji would increase as well as create employment opportunities for Fijians.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS

18) Fiji’s first domestic human trafficking case
By Online Editor
1:27 pm GMT+12, 19/02/2013, Fiji

Fiji’s first domestic human trafficking case was heard in the Suva Magistrates Court Monday.

The pair — Inoke Raikadroka, 23, of Suva, and Mohammed Sheefaz Jameer Sagaitu, 24, of Rotuma — appeared before Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili.

Raikadroka is charged with nine counts of trafficking in children, living on earnings of prostitution and prostitution.

Sagaitu, on the other hand, is charged with two counts of living on the earnings of prostitution and three counts of domestic trafficking in children.

It is alleged that the two, from May to December 12 last year, trafficked two girls aged 16, 17 and a 20-year-old woman between Suva and Nadi.

Ratuvili transferred the matter to the High Court citing the seriousness of the offence.

“Your charge is a serious charge and I am transferring it to the High Court,” he said.

Defence counsel Seremaia Waqainabete and the prosecution did not object to the decision made by Ratuvili, saying the nature of the matter required it to be heard in the High Court.

He told both accused that they would be remanded in custody and that they should file their bail applications while in remand.

The matter will be called on 01 March.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

19) Fiji regime to abolish 14 political parties

Updated 19 February 2013, 18:29 AEST

Fourteen of Fiji’s 17 political parties are being closed down after failing to apply for registration under restrictions imposed on opposition groups last month.

Soldier on guard at Fiji government buildings. (Credit: AFP)

Fourteen of Fiji’s 17 political parties are being closed down after failing to apply for registration.

They had to register under restrictions imposed on opposition groups last month.

The closures announced by the military regime means the Pacific nation will potentially have only three political parties involved in elections scheduled for next year.

The promised elections are the country’s first major move toward democracy since a military coup in 2006.

Fiji police said yesterday that two Labour Party officials had been accused of falsely seeking party membership applications from the public. The party has strongly denied the claims.

Missed deadline

Fiji’s registrar for political parties Mere Vuniwaqa said 14 parties did not meet a deadline for registration last week.

They would be wound up, with all their assets being forfeited to the government.

“By law, I am mandated to make an application to the High Court to wind up the rest of the existing parties that did not apply by the deadline,” she told the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation.

“We are now working in the Solicitor General’s office to put together the relevant applications for the winding up in the High Court.”

Under a decree passed last month, the membership threshold for registering a political party was lifted 40-fold from 128 to 5,000.

AFP says this is a major hurdle for opposition groups in Fiji, which has a population of about 870,000.

Union staff banned

Trade union officials were also banned from political parties, in a move the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) said was “an affront to democratic principles”.

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has described the conditions imposed on Fiji’s political parties as “onerous” and unjustified, saying they threaten to undermine confidence in next year’s elections.

Audio: FLP leader dismisses impersonation allegations (ABC News)

Senator Carr is expected to visit Fiji this month as part of a delegation from the Pacific Islands Forum, which expelled Fiji in 2009 for failing to restore democracy.

Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudry has dismissed allegations his party was involved in a case of impersonation.

Fiji police say members of the public complained about two party officials getting people to sign party membership applications by pretending to be Electoral Office employees registering voters.

Mr Chaudhry told Pacific Beat he was not concerned about the claims,

But he is worried that the coup-installed military government is not serious about returning the country to democratic rule.

He said support for Labour was “quite tremendous” and it had no need to engage in devious practices.

AFP/Radio Australia

20) Fiji call for election supervisor
By Online Editor
4:02 pm GMT+12, 19/02/2013, Fiji

There has been a fresh call in Fiji for an independent supervisor of elections to ensure voters can have confidence in next year’s promised ballot.

The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) has repeated its call for the appointment.

The group says the office of the Attorney-General has a tight leash on the Elections Office and prospective political parties.

CCF executive director, the Reverend Akuila Yabaki, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat their efforts for an independent supervisor of elections have already been called a waste of time.

“I’ve got an email from the Minister of Information or maybe one of the staff saying that probably I’m wasting my time,” he said.

“We’d like to know why.

“Because we are doing our job, the CCF, in echoing the . . . integrity principles which are shared worldwide – which I’d say is one of the one of the non-negotiable” for democracy.

Yabaki said the Elections Office needed to be truly independent of other institutions of government to avoid any interference and conflict of interest.

This was particularly necessary to fulfil the wish of UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon for elections to restore “legitimate government” in the country, he said.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

21) Fiji Media role defined in Amended Political Parties Decree, 14 political parties in Fiji to wind up
By Online Editor
09:19 am GMT+12, 19/02/2013, Fiji

Amendments have been made to the  Fiji Political Parties Decree 2013, which includes the role of the media in the process leading up to the registration of political parties.

The Registrar of Political Parties Mere Vuniwaqa says the amended decree prohibits any group of people from using the same name, acronym or symbol of any political party that didn’t apply for registration within the 28 day period.

“A party has been de-registered. It no longer exists. Then it doesn’t make sense for somebody, it’s mischievous actually, for a group of people to come up and adopt everything that that party was.”

The decree also gives the Registrar the power to refuse an application if it’s found that any information or particulars of the application is false or incorrect.

“It actually mandates the Registrar of Political Parties to refuse an application for registration where the Registrar is satisfied that information in that application has been obtained through fraudulent means.”

The decree prohibits any group from holding themselves out to be political parties if they’re not registered and according to Vuniwaqa, this has also been extended to the media.

Any person who fails to comply to this amendments are liable to a fine of up to $50,000 (US$28,000), imprisonment of up to five years or both.

Meanwhile, out of the seventeen political parties that existed before the deadline for applications last week, only three have re-applied.

Vuniwaqa is now in the process of winding up the remaining fourteen that did not apply to re-register.

She says every party that did not apply within the twenty eight day period is now deemed to be de-registered.

“By law, I am mandated to make an application to the High Court to wind up the rest of the existing parties that did not apply by the deadline. We are now working in the Solicitor General’s Office to put together the relevant applications for the winding up in the High Court.”

Under the law, each application must be published within fourteen days of lodgement.

The Office of the Registrar has until next Thursday to check all information from the three applicants and have them published.

The public will also be given the chance to have their say on the applications.

SOURCE: FBC/PACNEWS

22) Tonga fuel prices hiked by more than 20 percent

Posted at 02:50 on 19 February, 2013 UTC

The price of fuel in Tonga has increased sharply.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, the price of petrol on the main island of Tongatapu is now 1 US dollar and 64 cents a litre, a rise of 32 cents.

Diesel and kerosene have seen similar hikes.

The Secretary for the Ministry’s Competence Authority, who sets the prices, Pauline Siasay, says because the prices are influenced by the market in Singapore, there isn’t much that can be done to avoid them.

However, Ms Siasay says the government is looking at measures to ease the impact of price rises.

“We’re looking at measures to decrease the taxes. We are also looking at having the petroleum imported directly from Singapore. This issue has been with the government for quite some time and there is negotiation in progress so we’re looking forward to having this implemented soon.”

Pauline Siasay.

Radio New Zealand International

23) Marshall Islands College says more local teachers can cut budget

Posted at 02:50 on 19 February, 2013 UTC

The President of the College of the Marshall Islands says hiring local teachers can significantly reduce the school’s annual costs.

As part of the school’s plan to erase debt and end six years of budget deficits, the President Carl Hacker will have his salary cut by 7,000 US dollars to 63-thousand for the current fiscal year.

Mr Hacker says salary cuts to other staff members are also expected to save 240,000 dollars.

He says the cost of hiring off-island teachers is too expensive but the school only has four Marshallese staff in its 54 faculties.

“There has to be more Marshallese instructors at the Marshallese college. You know we wouldn’t have to deal as much with issues like housing, you know that’s starting at a minimum of nine thousand dollars a year per off-island employee. You know we’re spending 420,000 dollars a year on housing. You know this has to change.”

Carl Hacker says the college has installed an energy efficient air-conditioning system which is expected to cut the electricity bill by 200-thousand US dollars a year.

Radio New Zealand International

24) RMI To UN, Climate Change Is ‘Security Issue’
Minister deBrum hopes appeal to Security Council is convincing

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Yokwe, Feb. 15, 2013) – The Security Council should consider climate change as a threat to international peace and security, particularly for such low-lying nations as the Marshall Islands whose “very existence” was at risk, a Government minister from that country said at a Headquarters press conference today. “This organization [the Council] that we put faith in to provide the security of our country is saying that that is not a security matter,” said Tony deBrum, Minister in Assistance to the President of the Marshall Islands, as he briefed journalists on today’s so-called “Arria Formula” meeting on security implications of climate change.

Initiated in 1992 by Ambassador Diego Arria, the representative of Venezuela on the Security Council, such informal gatherings do not constitute an activity of the Council and are convened at the initiative of a member or members of the Council.

Mr. deBrum said he had participated as a panellist and reminded the Council that 35 years ago, he had come to the United Nations to petition for the independence of the Marshall Islands. Between 1976 and 1986, his delegation had annually visited the United Nations. In 1986, the Security Council finally approved the termination of the trusteeship and the establishment of an independent Government for the Marshall Islands, he added.

“We are very grateful for that, but it is hard to be excited about the independent Government seeking prosperity, progress and good life for its people to be faced with the situation where its very existence is threatened through climate change,” he said.

“It seems ironic that the very same agency whose approval was needed for my country to become a country again would consider my coming back to ask for help […] is not relevant to their work,” he said. There was no outcome document or a running record from that meeting, but he expected that his appeal had convinced some or more of the participants that climate change “is in fact a security issue, not just an economic/social/political issue”.

When asked which countries opposed treating climate change as the Council’s prerogative, he said China, Russian Federation and Guatemala were among them. “Surprisingly”, the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, of which the Marshall Islands was a member, had taken a position that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was the appropriate venue for deliberations on that issue. That revealed that “many of our own friends throughout the world do not realize the urgency of the problem,” he said.

Describing the situation, he said rising tides had started severely impacting the islands, with roads inundated every 14 days in keeping with the moon cycle. In southern parts of the nation, where there used to be a military base in the Second World War, ordnances were being exposed by the tides, presenting a clear danger to the life and welfare of people there. Even the nation’s capital was required to ration water. In the northern part, emergency kits for making drinking water were being distributed as well water was inundated with salt.

“It became unsuitable for human consumption, and dangerous even to our staple food and citrus,” he said. He said he was not predicting a looming crisis — it was already happening, affecting not just his own country but also Kiribati, Tuvalu and some of the other low-lying islands of the Pacific. He hoped that “logic will prevail and people see it as a just cause”.

In September, there will be a Pacific Islands Forum meeting to be held in his country, he said. He wished to invite the most significant players in the politics of climate change to visit the Marshall Islands to see the situation first hand. “We are not just sitting under coconut trees and waiting for coconuts to fall,” he said, stressing the need for proactive measures.

To an inquiry about Palau’s bid to bring the climate change issue before the International Court of Justice as a security and human rights violation, he said it was an interesting effort, but was not moving anywhere.

Yokwe: http://www.yokwe.net/

25) Lack of Pacific focus risking Australia’s influence, report finds
By Online Editor
09:16 am GMT+12, 19/02/2013, Australia

Australia  had lost influence in the Pacific islands because of the government’s “short attention span” in relating to the region, Melbourne University research to be published this week reveals.

Jonathan Schultz, the author of the 250-page study, said yesterday: “Australia lacks a strong, long-term policy orientation in the Pacific, and our level of engagement therefore fluctuates wildly.”

He said as a result, “a pattern has emerged of repeated phases of invigorated engagement and stagnation. We keep making similar mistakes and having to relearn the same lessons”.

He urged the appointment of a minister for the Pacific, “with greater departmental resources and a higher public profile” than the parliamentary secretary status accorded Richard Marles, who has that responsibility under the Gillard government.

The Coalition has in recent times – including in their platform for the last election – proposed to appoint a minister for overseas aid, a large proportion of which is deployed in the Pacific.

Dr Schultz, whose research paper focuses especially strongly on the 20 years from 1988, urged the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade “to nurture a cadre of bureaucrats for whom the Pacific is their focus”.

Despite the massive dislocation caused by the Bougainville civil war and the conflict in Solomon Islands, followed by hugely expensive injections of people and funding from Australia, “the Pacific is seen as just a stepping stone” by Australian officials.

“We wind up with the situation where it is not taken seriously. As a result, we learn, then forget, and the process repeats itself,” he said.

Pacific island desks, he said, had low status in Australia’s bureaucracy.

There were innumerable stories, he said, of people “discovering” the islands country to which they were travelling by reading a brief on the plane.

Yet what Canberra said about, and how it acted in the region, carried immense weight, he said. “For better or worse, we are the regional superpower.”

Dr Schultz said Australia should not invigorate its Pacific involvement only because China has become interested in and engaged with the region – but for its own sake, as Australia’s immediate neighbourhood and sphere of influence.

As a loyal ally to the US, he said, Australia should also step up its capacity to manage events in a region in which Washington entrusted it to remain the major power.

“It also suits the islanders, generally, to see Australia play a more active and sustained role. They are often saying that. We need to be clear as to why we are involved there.

“It’s not just because they need aid. There are people who need it more than Pacific islanders. We are there because it’s our region.”

When then foreign minister Alexander Downer applied a “new interventionism” approach – which worked in Solomon Islands – more broadly,””this proved difficult to replicate” elsewhere such as Papua New Guinea or Vanuatu.

And the approach “proved ineffective in achieving Australian objectives of improving governance”, he said.

He concludes in his study: “In the absence of strong institutional support for the maintenance of Australia’s relationship with the Pacific islands, personalities take on commensurately greater importance.”

Thus, for example, the relationship struck between then defence minister Peter Reith and Nauru president Rene Harris proved highly beneficial, whereas that between Downer and PNG leader Michael Somare created problems, while Kevin Rudd “laid claim to instigating another new era in Australia’s relationships with the Pacific islands”

However, he said, “this period of renewed engagement (under Mr Rudd) was short-lived, and rapidly gave way to another phase of stagnation”.

SOURCE: THE AUSTRALIAN/PACNEWS

26)Cruising company helps develop Pacific Island communities
By Online Editor
09:04 am GMT+12, 19/02/2013, Vanuatu

With  around eight decades’ history cruising the Pacific Islands, P&O Cruises has long played an important role in the communities of these island nations.

From environmental conservation to lifestyle, the brand has brought countless positive changes over the years, paying particular attention to preserving local culture and traditions along the way.

In 2012, P&O Cruises made this relationship a more formal one by forming the P&O Pacific Partnership.

Joining forces with international charity organisation, Save the Children, the two brands are raising money to build a better future for these island communities, with a particular focus on Vanuatu.

Fund raising efforts begun with P&O Cruises donating AUD$50,000, as well as a contribution of AUDF$1 being added to each onboard account for passengers over 18 – a move that’s been well received among passengers.

Janet Cameron of Save the Children says that the P&O Pacific Partnership is an important step in securing the futures and basic needs of local children.

“Our mission is to ensure that all children realise their rights to medical care and education, and the partnership will assist us in meeting that mission. Together we will give the children of Vanuatu a better start in life.”

P&O Cruises’ initial $50,000 donation is currently being put to good use in the Vanuatu province of Sanma to build Santo East Primary school.

Cameron says that this area was chosen for its remoteness and lack of access to such important services.

“The district and village for the site were chosen in conjunction with the Ministry of Education. The district of Sanma is a remote, mountainous region and so many children here do not have ready access to services such as kindergartens,” she says.

“Our work within the region is centred on ensuring that there is all important access for children so that they can attend and be successful in their schooling.”.

SOURCE: THE SATELITE/PACNEWS

27) New Zealand To Hold Pacific Parliamentarian Forum
Gathering to ‘strengthen networks in the region’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 18, 2013) – New Zealand has announced it will host a forum of Pacific parliamentarians in April.

The chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade select committee, John Hayes, says it will be an opportunity for Pacific politicians and leaders, and New Zealand Members of Parliament, to strengthen their networks in the region

The idea for the Pacific Parliamentary meeting came from a recent review of New Zealand’s relationship with Pacific states.

The gathering will begin with a three hour debate in the New Zealand Parliament on Pacific issues.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

28) PNG Pukpuks eye Fiji match
By Online Editor
10:47 am GMT+12, 19/02/2013, Papua New Guinea

The  Papua New Guinea Rugby Football Union (PNGRFU) is waiting on final clarification to host this year’s Oceania Cup 15s challenge.

The bonus for this year’s Oceania Cup winner will be given the golden opportunity to vie for a direct qualification to the International Rugby Board (IRB) World Cup 2015 in England.

The only obstacle in the way is a one-off clash with regional heavyweight Fiji in the next stage of the qualifying stage in 2014.

The winner will join Group A alongside Australia, hosts England and Wales.

PNGRFU operations manager Simon Kerr yesterday confirmed that Port Moresby had been earmarked to play host to eight members of the Federation of Oceania Rugby Union (FORU) from July 1-15.

The eight members will come from the FORU tier three membership of PNG, American Samoa, the Cook Islands, Niue, New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands, Tahiti (French Polynesia), Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Wallis and Futuna.

“However we (PNGRFU) are just waiting on final clarification from FORU and other administrative issues that need to be sorted out before an official announcement can be made,” Kerr said.

He confirmed the dates targeted were during the school holidays in the nation’s capital, where an opportunity to engage the successful Pacific In Union (PIU) programme for schools presented itself.

He said that a regional-based 15s squad would be in place following a proposed national trials to be held before June.

Last year, the Capital Rugby Union (CRU) provincial team, under its new banner, competed successfully to win the national provincial championship staged in Lae.

Kerr said he could not finalise things at this stage but selection for the PNG Pukpuks was in the pipeline.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

29) Shock as Petero Civoniceva poised to captain Fiji in rugby league’s World Cup
By Online Editor
10:50 am GMT+12, 19/02/2013, Australia

Retired NRL star Petero Civoniceva is poised make a shock return to representative football later this year to captain Fiji in rugby league’s World Cup.

Civoniceva will be 37-and-a-half when he leads the Bati into the tournament in England and Wales.

The former Brisbane and Penrith front-rower is keeping fit for the event by playing for local Brisbane club Redcliffe in the Queensland Cup competition.

If he competes in the World Cup, Civoniceva will become one of the oldest Test skippers in rugby league history. St George’s Billy Wilson captained Australia against New Zealand in 1963 aged 36.

Civoniceva retired from the NRL after last season with the Brisbane Broncos.

The World Cup will be the swansong for Civoniceva, who played 45 Tests for Australia and 33 State of Origin games for Queensland.

Civoniceva played two years with the Panthers before returning to Brisbane for his farewell NRL season.

Fiji officials are delighted Civoniceva is ready to lead their nation. They believe Civoniceva will give Fiji instant credibility in the World Cup, which will run from October 26 until November 30.

Meanwhile, the annual Petero Civoniceva Medal will be held at Mount Pritchard Leagues Club on Saturday week. NRL stars Jarryd Hayne, Wes Naiqama and Akuila Uate will attend.

SOURCE: THE DAILY TELEGRAPH/PACNEWS

19 February, 2013 1:01PM AEST

30) Hurricane can’t stop Saibai marathon man

By Sam Davis

A natural disaster may have stopped Jurgean Tabuai from competing in his first ever marathon in New York last year but the forecast looks good for a Tokyo debut later this week.

Tabuai had been training to compete in the 2012 New York marathon as part of the Indigenous Marathon Project run by legendary Australian runner Robert di Castella.

But when Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast of the United States the race was cancelled forcing Tabuai and fellow runners to head home early di Castella says.

“It was such a big disappointment last November,” he says. “For these guys to get back home, deal with that disappointment and then knuckle down and maintain their training is a real credit to them.”

Originally from Saibai Island in the Torres Strait, the Port Lincoln-based Tabuai will join two other runners from the Indigenous Running Project in the Tokyo marathon on Sunday.

Di Castella says the runner was given the opportunity because he has stayed committed to his training since missing out on running in New York.

“It’ll be another incredible experience to go through the whole Japanese cultural experience,” he says.

“I’m really looking forward to see how the guys go.”

Tabuai overcame a leg injury last year to record a time of 40 minutes over 10 kilometres at the Gold Coast Running Festival in July before completing the 30-kilometre Alice Springs test event in 2 hours and 34 minutes.

http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2013/02/19/3693659.htm


31) NRL clubs may sue ACC as sponsors flee

By Online Editor
10:44 am GMT+12, 19/02/2013, Australia

NRL clubs named in the Australian Crime Commission report are considering legal action amid revelations the allegations have cost Cronulla up to A$2 million in sponsorship.

Club bosses were reluctant to comment on their plans when contacted on Monday but one chief executive told Fairfax Media there had already been preliminary discussions among them about seeking damages over the impact of the report.

He said there were expected to be further discussions at Wednesday’s meeting of chief executives in Sydney, and the six clubs – Canberra, Cronulla, Manly, Newcastle, North Queensland and Penrith – could be joined by others not named in the report.

The Sharks, in particular, are reeling from the fallout of the report, which officials say had cost them a potential new deal for the naming rights of their home ground.

The club, which had appeared to have overcome its financial woes after being granted approval to develop land adjoining the stadium, is also set to start the season without a jersey sponsor.

Cronulla’s general manager of marketing and communications Patrick Woods said the Sharks had been in the final stages of negotiations for the stadium naming rights when the ACC report was released on February 7.

Woods said the report had caused the company to question the deal and walk away. “We were very close to signing a million-dollar-plus deal and the ACC report was a major factor in the breakdown of those negotiations,” Woods told Sponsorship News. “The implications of these accusations is only starting to be felt now and we’ll feel them for a long time.”

Woods said the setback was disappointing at a time when there was a lot of interest in the Sharks prospects this season after an impressive recruitment drive that has netted Luke Lewis, Michael Gordon, Chris Heighington and Beau Ryan.

“’The last six months we’ve spent a lot of time and effort rebuilding the Sharks’ brand from a commercial point-of-view, but also the football club has rebuilt the on-field performance and recruited some great talent.

“’We’re still tracking really well, with membership and corporate hospitality up 80 per cent and 36 per cent respectively on this time last year. Sponsorship was the final piece of the puzzle, and this report has definitely affected us.”

North Queensland chief executive Peter Jourdain said last week his club was considering legal action but
he did not want to discuss the matter when contacted on Monday. ”I am not making any more comments,” Jourdain said.

Other clubs not named in the report into doping and match-fixing in Australian sport have also been affected, with Sydney Roosters general manager of marketing and communications Ted Helliar revealing his club had lost two potential new corporate partners.

Another chief executive said he had received numerous phone calls from sponsors last Monday wanting to know if the club was one of those named in the report. ”This has hurt everyone,”’ he said.

Penrith have not lost any sponsors but the club believes the report will affect the ability to attract new ones.
Panthers officials intend to show Australian Sport Anti-Doping Authority representatives the effect of the report first-hand on Tuesday when they meet players from Penrith’s senior and junior squads.

Meanwhile, North Sydney player Curtis Johnston met ASADA officials on Monday to explain the incident that led to him being stood down by the Bears last week.

Johnston told Fairfax Media that messages he sent on KICK last Monday about using performance-enhancing drugs and the contact details for a supplier was “just a massive joke”.

The NSW Cup’s 2011 leading tryscorer had played for the Bears in a trial two days before, and said he thought he was replying to a teammate but it is believed the player’s ex-girlfriend, who forwarded the messages to North Sydney officials. He remains stood down.

SOURCE: NRL/PACNEWS

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