Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 874

http://www.voiceofmelanesia.com/


MELANESIA:


1) MSG members cautioned not to use the ‘high moral ground on Fiji’

By Online Editor
5:13 pm GMT+12, 20/06/2013, New Caledonia

By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor in Noumea, New Caledonia

Papua New Guinea’s Grand Chief, Sir Michael Somare has cautioned the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) not to use the ‘high moral ground’ to justify its criticism of Fiji’s slow return to democratic rule.

“Although pious principles are noble, they are very often void of the reality on the ground. MSG needs to be pragmatic in its approach to Fiji, said Sir Michael.

Sir Michael has been a strong supporter of the efforts in Fiji to progress towards democracy.

He admitted the situations in Fiji and West Papua will continue to test MSG solidarity as a group.

“It is not a secret that regional decisions and approaches to Fiji have caused polarization of views in the Pacific Islands Forum.

“Even within our MSG grouping, I can sense a tenuous unity of purpose in Fiji. There is a real risk of a chasm developing between MSG members if we are not careful, said Sir Michael.

He said Fiji requires the MSG’s understanding and support.

“Time should not be the essence for Fiji to return to elective government. But ensuring Fiji develops a strong culture of enduring democracy with robust democratic institutions, is.

“Melanesian values of dialogue and patience, although protracted in process, has the greatest potential to bring about the change we want in Fiji, said PNG’s Grand chief.

This, he said is in stark contrast to the ‘condescending tactics and heavy handed punitive actions advocated by some countries on Fiji.’

“I would suggest that the changing geo-political situation in the region is a result of this, said Sir Michael.

Fiji held the chairmanship of the MSG for two years before it handed it to the FLNKS of New Caledonia last night.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

2) Melanesian Spearhead Group plan for peacekeeping
By Online Editor
5:08 pm GMT+12, 20/06/2013, New Caledonia

Melanesian countries push ahead with plans for a peacekeeping unit to work with the UN around the world.

Melanesian countries in the Pacific are pushing ahead with a plan to set up a peacekeeping unit to work with the United Nations around the world.

The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), comprising leaders of Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia’s indigenous political group, the FLNKS, are meeting in Noumea today and tomorrow.

Retiring MSG chairman, Fijian prime minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama, used his outgoing speech to promote the peacekeeping proposal at the opening ceremony last night.

In his speech, Commodore Bainimarama emphasised progress on the creation of the peacekeeping unit and spoke about Fiji’s long experience in international peacekeeping operations.

He said the plan would be to create a unit of Melanesian peacekeepers who could work for UN peacekeeping operations around the world.

Commodore Bainimarama said the MSG now had a stronger and clearer vision and had carved out a bigger presence in the region

He spoke about the MSG free market trade deal and also praised the MSG’s skills management scheme, which involves Melanesian countries allowing skilled people to move freely within MSG countries.

The President of New Caledonia’s National Congress, Gerard Poadja, has said he will not attend two official functions because of Commodore Bainimarama’s presence.

SOURCE: RADIO AUSTRALIA/PACNEWS

3) Indonesia confirms MSG Ministerial delegation’s visit
By Online Editor
5:11 pm GMT+12, 20/06/2013, Indonesia

The Indonesian government has invited foreign ministers from Melanesian nations grouped under the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG)to Jakarta to receive briefings on development in Papua and West Papua provinces, a move that could be seen as a campaign to obtain international support for the country’s sovereignty over its easternmost region.

Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Su-yanto said that an invitation for the event had been sent to Fijian Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

“It is true that I met the Fijian prime minister in Fiji on June 3. The topics we discussed touched mainly on bilateral relations between our two countries. At the meeting, I also extended an invitation to foreign ministers of MSG member states to come to Indonesia,” Djoko told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

The MSG consists of Fiji, Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, as well as the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS), a pro-independence group from French-ruled New Caledonia.

“We invite these foreign ministers to visit Indonesia to observe Indonesia’s development in general, which also includes the government’s policy on the acceleration of development in Papua and West Papua,” Djoko said.

He denied, however, that the invitations were aimed at countering Papuan pro-independence activists’ efforts to win support from the international community.

The senior minister said that President Susilo Bambang Yudho-yono had endorsed the plan.

Last month, the Indonesian government was angered by a move by the Free West Papua movement to open an office in Oxford, UK. Oxford Mayor Mohammed Abbasi, Oxford’s member of parliament, Andrew Smith, and former mayor Elise Benjamin were among those present at the ceremony to inaugurate the office.

Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry summoned British Ambassador to Indonesia Mark Canning and filed a diplomatic protest against the British government for the incident.

Free West Papua leader Benny Wenda is on Indonesia’s list of fugitives, but the British government decided to drop him from its wanted list despite a red notice from the Indonesian authorities.

Benny’s group has been active in many countries, particularly Australia and New Zealand, as well as the Melanesian states. He has highlighted several issues, including alleged human rights violations by the Indonesian authorities against Papuans.

Melanesian leaders have repeatedly voiced their support for Papuan self-determination.

On Monday, however, PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, who led a delegation of government officials and business leaders on a three-day visit to Jakarta, said that Papua was an integral part of Indonesia.

O’Neill merely added that he was “happy to have been asked by the Indonesian government to help manage issues” in Papua and West Papua.

SOURCE: THE JAKARTA POST/PACNEWS

4) Regional parliament on agenda at MSG summit

Posted at 05:21 on 20 June, 2013 UTC

At the Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders’ Summit in New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands prime minister is pursuing the idea that the group consider the creation of a Melanesian regional parliament.

Gordon Darcy Lilo says the idea has great potential and could be the basis for underpinning economic and human development across Melanesia.

Mr Lilo says the 19th MSG Leaders’ Summit will also feature open and frank discussion about the plight of the indigenous West Papuans of Indonesia, as the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation has applied for membership at the MSG.

Johnny Blades asked Mr Lilo if signs that the MSG would defer a decision on the application are true, but began by asking him about the idea of a Melanesian legislature.

GORDON DARCY LILO: In Melanesia, as you know, the most important thing is to really harness the potential of Melanesia, as a way to promote a more stable Pacific community. And you cannot continue to rely on aid assistance as a way to stabilise the Pacific. It has to be developed within the Pacific. And the region that has the potential to bring about that kind of more dynamic development that will stabilise the region is the Melanesian region. So we believe in this whole process of advancing development discourse, governance is very important. Legislative institutions have to be strengthened, and it must be practised in all facets to be able to build a very strong democratic society and avoid democratic deficit in a kind of situation that we’ve all had, which will pull back the kind of good leap that we can make out of democratic institutions in society.

JOHNNY BLADES: The MSG seems to really be growing in cohesion, and it’s the power base of the Pacific Islands region, isn’t it?

GDL: Well, generically speaking. People talk about Melanesia’s cohesiveness in that very generic way. But you’ve got to build the institutions to give rise to that kind of strength of unity and co-operation. And so that is why it’s important we really anchor the whole process of development agenda and all the issues that go along with international trade, trade relations, in a more fair way through this kind of legislative arrangement, so it binds the region together in a more stable way.

JB: So is it some time off?

GDL: Well, we have very robust democratic institutions that are already within our own prospective countries. I think what is important is to pull them all together to be under this kind of sub-regional legislative framework, to make them really cohesively established and giving full effect to the potentials that we have within the region.

JB: You’ve been credited with being a very strong voice on the West Papua issue, and, of course, this is something you leaders are going to decide on, the bid this week, or will it be deferred as the foreign ministers have kind of signalled?

GDL: I think the leaders are going to open up their thoughts around it. And I would expect a very, very good openness, you know, in the way that we talk about it. Because issues of human rights are very real and it is important that we place them in the appropriate forum to be able to look closely into the way that it has affected the Melanesian race. Remember that the MSG is not all about being racially discriminatory. It is all about harnessing the economic potentials, the development potentials, and the people within the Melanesian region. So i think there’s going to be some good extension of an open mind from the leaders to look into it in a more responsible and collective way.

JB: So it may not be membership, necessarily. There might be some other things you pursue?

GDL: Of course. These are matters that you have to undertake in a gradual way, and I think it can be linked to the ultimate desire. But you can take a more incremental process in advancing this discourse to really ground the kind of understanding that we can have to bring this issue into the international arena.

JB: And does the MSG have much influence over the Indonesian control of their military in West Papua?

GDL: No, we don’t have the military might. Honestly, we don’t have the military might. But I think we have the real political will and the accessibility to be able to have access to the Indonesian authorities in the most friendly and the most quality engaging manner, to be able to bring this issue to the authorities in Indonesia. As you know, most countries in the Melanesian regions are members of the Coral Triangle, for instance, which also includes you, New Zealand, and therefore there’s a very close co-operation and respect between Indonesia and the Melanesian region.

JB: Because the Foreign Ministers Meeting said that it was going to be deferred, is that the outcome or do we have to wait and see what the Leaders’ Summit comes up with in terms of whether that formal bid is accepted for membership, by the Coalition for Liberation?

GDL: Well, the retreat is tomorrow and leaders have an open and flexible opportunity to talk over so many issues.

Radio New Zealand International

5) New MSG chairman says West Papua bid must be handled carefully

Posted at 23:10 on 19 June, 2013 UTC

The new chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group says the West Papuan bid to join the group must be handled carefully so as not to disrupt the group’s unity.

The spokesman for New Caledonia’s FLNKS movement, Victor Tutugoro, accepted the MSG chairmanship from Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama last night at the 19th MSG leaders summit in Noumea.

The issue dominating the summit is the formal application for MSG membership by the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation.

Mr Tutugoro echoed statements from meetings of the MSG Senior officials and Foreign Ministers ahead of this summit, that a decision on the application will be deferred.

His words are translated:

“We have thought about it within the SOM (senior officials meeting) and the FMM (Foreign Ministers Meeting). We must be careful on our side for the unity of the MSG.”

Victor Tutugoro.

Radio New Zealand International

6) Sir Michael Somare exhorts MSG to include West Papua in its activities

By Online Editor
5:15 pm GMT+12, 20/06/2013, New Caledonia

By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor in Noumea, New Caledonia

One of the founding fathers of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare says granting West Papuan membership of the sub-regional bloc must be done on the basis that it is a Melanesian community  and not because it is a sovereign independent state.

“A not too dissimilar arrangement can be found in the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) where Taiwan and Hong Kong, regarded by many as part of China, participate in development with independent sovereign states.

“The point here is that MSG has to be inventive, said Sir Michael.

If, West Papua eventually becomes a ‘member’ of the MSG, it will serve as the venue for both Indonesia and West Papua to dialogue and regularly brief MSG countries on developments in West Papua, said the longest serving Papua New Guinea Prime Minister.

Speaking at the MSG Silver Jubilee celebration in Noumea today, Sir Michael had a few words of advice for West Papuan pro-independence activists.

“You need to learn to sit down and talk about your issues with Indonesia. Your leaders, chiefs and activists must discuss ways to find solutions to your problem. Your problem is an internal one and our countries have no right to interfere into sovereign issues of Indonesia.

“You should not bring your problem from your side to us because, like PNG, we have diplomatic relations with Indonesia and we share a common border, said the Grand Chief.

Sir Michael said during his days in government, Indonesia indicated that it was willing to understand and solve the problems in West Papua.

“Indonesia has appointed West Papuans as administrators and other leadership positions as it tries to explore ways to assimilate West Papuans into their society.

The head of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation, Dr Otto Ondawame responded saying every attempt has been to hold dialogue with the Indonesians.

“We already tried in 2011 to talk with Indonesia, we wrote letters to start a peaceful dialogue but still nothing. The problem is not on our side but with the Indonesian government and its military, said Dr Ondawame.

Dr Ondawame said any peaceful dialogue with Indonesia must be made with a third party.

On what the MSG should do, even before it admits West Papua as a member, Sir Michael said MSG should invite West Papua to cultural events, sporting activities and technical skills exchange.

“West Papua after all has a significant Melanesian community, said Sir Michael.

MSG Leaders will consider the application for West Papua membership Friday.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

7) Time of the essence for West Papua, says WPNCL

Posted at 06:21 on 20 June, 2013 UTC

The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation says Indonesian security forces continue to inflict human rights abuses and violations on West Papuans while the international community does little about it.

The Coalition has lodged a formal application for membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group, saying membership will help galvanise international focus on ongoing abuses against the indigenous people of Indonesia’s Papua region.

A decision on the application was expected at the 19th MSG Leaders Summit underway in New Caledonia, but MSG Foreign Ministers have indicated the decision could be deferred.

The coalition’s Paula Makabori says that in terms of the decision, time is of the essence for West Papuans.

“The civilians of West Papua, who are the Melanesian people, they face the death threats and summary executions and disappearance – and women get raped. It’s just increasing.”

Paula Makabori.

MSG Leaders are tucked away in their retreat today, and are expected to make a statement on the Coalition’s application tomorrow.

Radio New Zealand International

8) Papuan man says he witnessed the Indonesian military slaughter 40 people

Posted at 05:21 on 20 June, 2013 UTC

A man in Indonesia’s Papua province says he is currently on the run from the military after witnessing a massacre of Papuans reported last month.

Several reports emerged in May of a slaughter of 40 people in the remote area of Tingginambut, close to the Puncak Jaya mountain, but so far very little evidence has emerged.

The witness says he hid up in the mountain for weeks after seeing the military kill people in villages in anger after not being able to find a wanted Papuan activist.

He says police know about the incident but haven’t taken any action.

He spoke to Alex Perrottet.

MAN: The people were killed, about 40 people, 40 people killed. And we found them in different places.

ALEX PERROTTET: And have you yourself seen the bodies, have you?

MAN: Yeah we found the bodies. Some of them under the bridge, they kill and then they throw next to the bridge, and then some of them under the rock. And we found in different places.

AP: What did you do with the bodies when you found them?

MAN: We tried to, want to burn them, but army, heavy army, they tried looking for us and now we are hide in the jungle.

AP: And do you know the victims, the people who were killed, do you know some of them personally?

MAN: Yes and I have their names and also their picture.

AP: And is anyone going to go back and try to get the bodies or not?

MAN: Yes, but for today no.

AP: Have you told the police?

MAN: Yeah, but I can’t go to the city. In Wamena it’s OK, but here it’s a little bit… They are looking for us and they already know us and I try to kind of hiding.

AP: Do you know whether any police know about this?

MAN: Yeah, police knows. Police know about this, but they just leave.

AP: How do you know that the military killed the 40 people? Did you see them do it?

MAN: Yeah. We were together, the victims we were together. And then they just go and then kill the people, they murdered them. And then we ran and climbed and went up to the mountain.

AP: You were hiding and watching, were you?

MAN: Yeah, I was hiding and watching them and I took some photos and also some video.

AP: And how did you feel?

MAN: I almost died, because I feel scared and because my friends, some they killed. We were together, we eat food together and they were killed by the military. And now I’m very upset and I’m trying to get free, free to live, but I am hiding in the jungle and I am not free.

News Content © Radio New Zealand International

9) Papua New Guinea and Indonesia sign new Air Services

Updated 20 June 2013, 23:28 AEST

Solomon Islands and Fiji stand to benefit from a new Air Services agreement signed by Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

Solomon Islands and Fiji stand to benefit from a new Air Services agreement signed by Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

The new agreement follows PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s visit to Jakarta this week.

President of the PNG Chamber of Commerce and Industry, John Leahy, has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the proposed new direct air-link will not only benefit people from PNG and Indonesia.

Audio: Papua New Guinea and Indonesia sign new Air Services (ABC News)

“The idea is that they would utilise the 737 aircraft and travel from Nadi through Honiara, Moresby and then on to Bali,” he said.

“There could potentially be opportunities for passengers to come from the other Pacific Islands as well through Port Moresby and onto Bali.”

The booming oil and gas sectors along the Indonesia-PNG border were also discussed during prime minister O’Neill’s visit to Jakarta.

“There could be pipelines that could be used and the product could be shipped via Papua New Guinea rather than another pipeline having to be built on the Indonesian side,” Mr Leahy said.

“Those discussions are going on and the governments are committed to cooperative arrangements to facilitate the private sector to be able to facilitate things in that sort of cooperative way.”

Around 80 PNG business people accompanied prime minister O’Neill on the trip.

This was the first state visit to Indonesia by a PNG leader and the first major business mission in more than 20 years.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

10) PNG, Indonesia Sign 11 Bilateral Agreements
PM O’Neill, delegation meet with Indonesian counterparts

By Isaac Nicholas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 19, 2013) – Papua New Guinea and Indonesia have signed a record 11 memoranda of understanding (MOU) for closer co-operation between the two countries. The MOU signings comes at the back of a one-on-one discussion between Peter O’Neill, the Prime Minister, and his Indonesian counterpart, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, at the presidential palace in Jakarta on Monday evening. The MOUs included workers exchange, education and training, air transport arrangement, petroleum and energy, education co-operation and higher education co-operation.

They were signed by Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato on behalf of the Government of PNG and various sectoral ministers from the Indonesian government.

Attorney general and justice minister Kerenga Kua signed with his Indonesian counterpart the extradition treaty; mining minister Byron Chan signed the MOU in mineral resource development; tourism minister Boka Kondra signed the Tourism Cooperation MOU; and Justin Tkatchenko signed the Sports Cooperation MOU.

The MOU signings were witnessed by Prime Minister O’Neill and President Yudhoyono which took place at the Istana Merdeka, presidential palace in Jakarta.

Mr. O’Neill and wife Linda Babao led a delegation of cabinet ministers which also included forest and climate change minister Patrick Pruaitch, public enterprise minister Ben Micah, fisheries minister Mao Seming and the defence minister Fabian Pok.

NCD governor Powes Parkop, Jiwaka governor William Tongamp, MPs and a large business representation all arrived at the Halim Perdanakusuma Airport on an Air Niugini 767 from Port Moresby where they were met by the chief of state protocol of the Republic of Indonesia, Ambassador Ahmad Rusdi and ambassador of PNG to Indonesia Commodore Peter Ilau.

Prime Minister O’Neill and his delegation on Monday morning visited the Kalibata National Heroes cemetery for a wreath laying ceremony.

In the evening Prime Minister O’Neill was escorted in a long convoy of vehicles to the presidential palace where he was welcome by the President Yudhoyono and wife Ani Yudhoyono and inspected a military guard of honor and 21 Gun Salute.

The delegation will depart Jakarta on Wednesday morning to return to Port Moresby.

[PIR editor’s note: According to the Post-Courier, O’Neill also said PNG has “always maintained that West Papua and Papua are an integral part of Indonesia.”]

PNG Post-Courier: http://www.postcourier.com.pg/

11) VT90 MILLION TAFEA KANAKY FESTIVAL PROBED

Posted on June 20, 2013 – 10:25am | Category:

Featured Article

Local News

By
Ricky Binihi

The investigation into the Vt90 million taxpayers funded Tafea Kanaky Mini Arts Festival that was held when Edward Natapei was Prime Minister in 2009 has found there was non-compliance with the Government Tenders Board Act.

A total amount of four contracts amounting to Vt12.2 million paid to a subcontractor on Tanna should have followed the provision of the Public Financial Regulations which states that all “purchases over Vt5,000, 000 must follow the Tenders Regulations”.

The investigation was specifically requested by the former Epi MP Yoan Simon and Port Vila MP, current Lands Minister Ralph Regenvanu when they were members of the Public Accounts Committee.

In Auditor General’s report that was completed in December 2012 but was only available to the media recently Mr John Path said the Tafea Kanaky Mini Arts Festival Fund for the 19 month period from 1 June 2009 to 31 December 2010 said some investigators were unable to carry out their tasks because they were threatened on Tanna.

“We were informed by asset officers from the Department of Finance, that they travelled to Tanna to conduct spot checks on assets and register the assets. However, spot checks were unsuccessful as the asset officers were threatened, so they returned to Port Vila,” Mr Path said in his report.

The Auditor General also found that a total of Vt1.1 Million had insufficient documentation and that the Mini Arts Festival Bank account should be closed.
The Tafea Mini Arts Festival took place on the 20-25th July 2009 at Laminu Stadium on Tanna Island. The objective of the Festival was to exchange traditional cultures and values between Vanuatu and the Kanaky People.

However the Daily Post found out that the real reason for Vanuatu’s southern province to host the Mini Arts Festival with the people of Kanaky was for the indigenous people of New Caledonia, where France is claiming Mathew and Hunter islands, tell Vanuatu authorities and chiefs in the South that the two islands belong to Vanuatu.

Vanuatu authorities urgently needed at that time information or the acknowledgement from the indigenous land owners neighboring New Caledonia that the two islands belong to us so Vanuatu could help its cause to reclaim the two islands which are traditionally known as Umaeneag and Umaenupni.

The Tafea Kanaky Mini Arts Festival was a huge success in that regard.
Nevertheless the organizers of the event and the government at that time should adhere to the principles of good governance, transparency and accountability because Vt90 million is public money.

The Auditor General has recommended that in future all contractual services over Vt5 million must be tendered out in compliance with the public financial legislation and procedures should be put in place to cater for any conflicts of interests as they arise.http://www.dailypost.vu/

12) Thousands sign petition against additional coal plant in New Caledonia capital

Posted at 05:21 on 20 June, 2013 UTC

The NGO, Together for the Planet, or EPLP, is today delivering a petition to New Caledonia’s government opposing a planned coal-fuelled power plant in Noumea.

The recently announced plant of the SLN nickel company is poised to increase New Caledonia’s already high carbon emission rate.

The World Wildlife Fund says the territory’s CO2 emissions will rise almost treble to 36.8 tonnes per capita a year due to the development of new mining and metal extraction projects.

EPLP’s Martine Cornaille says SLN is pushing through its plans without consulting the local community.

“Our goal was to show to the government and industrialists that people do not want an additional coal plant inside here in Noumea. Within two months now, we have had more than 6,700 signatures from civilians, from people in society that refuse to have a coal plant here.”

Martine Cornaille of the NGO, Together for the Planet

Radio New Zealand International

13) Anti-Independence New Caledonia Kanak Party Announced
Senator: party will dispel view that all Kanaks favor autonomy

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 19, 2013) – A former long-standing New Caledonian member of the French Senate has announced the formation of a Kanak anti-independence party – a year before the next territorial election.

Simon Loueckhote chose to make the announcement the day France commemorated June the 18th 1940 when Charles de Gaulle made his rallying speech in Britain to free his country from German occupation.

Mr. Loueckhote says the party is to be known as the other voice to dispel the possible perception that all Kanaks are for independence.

Five years ago, he founded another party, the Movement for Diversity.

He had been the territory’s sole member of the French Senate for 19 years until 2011 when the local chapter of the French centre-right UMP no longer backed him and instead opted for another veteran politician, Pierre Frogier, to hold the Senate seat.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

14) Fiji Political Parties reveal assets and liabilities
By Online Editor
5:09 pm GMT+12, 20/06/2013, Fiji

The assets and liabilities of the officials and applicants of the three registered political parties have been published by the Registrar of Political Parties, Mohammed Saneem Thursday.

However many of the officials and applicants are not showing their sources of income in the declarations, some are not showing specific bank balances in different accounts here and abroad and many have not revealed the assets and liabilities of their children if they are over 18 years.

According to the Registration of Political Parties Decree, any official or applicant should provide a statement containing their total assets whether in Fiji or abroad, the total income in Fiji or abroad and the source of such income, any business connections, any directorships, any gifts received, any assets acquired by each of them whether in Fiji or abroad during the period to which the statement relates and the liabilities incurred or discharged by each of them.

This includes their spouses and children according to the decree.

Looking at the parties:

According to the declarations, the registered officer of the Fiji Labour Party, Mahendra Chaudhry has total assets amounting to $3.8 million (US$2.11 million) while his wife Hannah Virmati has $78,000 (US$42,000).

They say their children are above 18 years and financially independent.

The Chaudhrys declaration also said that they do not have the financial information of their children and they are unable to provide that.

Others who have provided declarations in the FLP include Lavenia Padarath who has provided total assets standing at $139,500(US$75,680) without any breakdowns or details on her children, Sachida Nand Sharma with an income of $11,259 (US$6,108) and personal overdraft of $5,000 (US$2,712)

Sharma is also saying that he cannot provide the financial information of their children as they are over 18 years.

David and Eleanor Eyre have provided a breakdown of assets including cash at bank, FNPF, the Credit Union, investments, home property and cars.

Their total joint assets amount to $686,683 (US$372,531).

They say their children are above 18 years and financially independent.

The declaration also said that they do not have the financial information of their children and they are unable to provide that.

Monica Raghwan, Kini Maraiwai, Surendra Lal and Udit Narayan are the other officials who have made their declarations for the Fiji Labour Party.

Officials and applicants of the Social Democratic Liberal Party or SODELPA have also made their declarations.  Ro Teimumu Kepa who is the interim President of SODELPA has listed are net assets at $291,000(US$157,870) which includes $1,000(US$542) cash at bank, $250,000(US$135,627)for land and building and $40,000 (US$21,700) for motor vehicle.

Many of the officials have only provided information on their spouses and not their children.

SODELPA official, Ratu Isikeli Komaisavai has signed the declarations however the financial information details are blank.

Others who have provided declarations for SODELPA are Pio Tabaiwalu, Timoci Bulitavu, Isoa Kamarusi, Nanise Kinivuwai, Vilimone Soqeta, Ratu Silivenusi Tabakaucoro, Lote Yavuca and Ruci Karuru.

The National Federation Party’s Raman Pratap Singh, Virendra Singh, Jag Nadan, Dhani Ram, Mohammed Rafiq, Vishwa Nadan and Dalip Kumar have also made their declarations.

They have provided a breakdown of their assets, income and liabilities but the financial information of their children is not included in the declaration.

Registrar of Political Parties, Mohammed Saneem said he will now verify the published particulars of the Fiji Labour Party, the National Federation Party and SODELPA for compliance with the Political Parties Decree.

Any member of the public who believes that the particulars provided are incorrect can contact Saneem.

According to the decree, any person who fails to comply with the requirements or provides information that is false, commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $50,000(US$27,125) or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or both.

SOURCE: LEGEND FM/ FIJI VILLAGE/PACNEWS

15) ITUC makes call for major investigation on Fiji

Posted at 05:21 on 20 June, 2013 UTC

The world’s largest umbrella union body says it is expecting arguments on Thursday with the Fiji government with the tabling of its demand for an international commission of inquiry into Fiji.

The country’s trade union situation is fourth on the agenda at a meeting of the International Labour Organisation in Geneva.

The International Trade Union Confederation’s General Secretary, Sharan Burrow told Sally Round a commission of inquiry is one of the highest investigative procedures the ILO has.

SHARON BURROW: There’s been many other cases – take Burma for example – that have led to serious international sanctions and international condemnation. It’s another tactic to say there must be a capacity for the ILO to investigate first-hand, on the ground, the impact of the decrees, and, of course, to try and negotiate with the government. We don’t hold out much hope, to be honest. This military dictatorship shows no sign of concern for international law or standards. But nevertheless we won’t ever give up on the workers in Fiji. We’ll fight using every tactic possible.

SALLY ROUND: Why is this Fiji issue so prominent on the agenda of the ILO and also on your agenda?

SB: Well, Fiji is a major issue for us. It’s one of our seven most critical countries. We call it our Countries At Risk programme. Because in the union movement there, workers in their workplaces are denied fundamental rights and freedoms – freedom of association, the right to bargain collectively, the imposition of independent contracts, the atrocities that have seen union leaders arrested, even jailed. These things are not the behaviour and they’re not the regulatory framework for a democracy. And, of course, that’s not what you have there – you have the military dictatorship. But it has to end.

SR: There has been some progression, though, towards democracy. Political parties have been registered, electors have been registering, as well. Is that not enough progression for the trade union movement?

SB: It’s certainly not enough for us. If you look at the constitutional of France, where the independent commission, of course, was ignored, the government tore up the draft. This is a government who is not committed to genuine international standards around democracy or around workers rights. We continue to be absolutely opposed to the behaviour of this government. The regulatory behaviour is appalling, and, of course, the oppression of workers with intimidation, arrests and imprisonment can’t go on. Those issues alone would make us stand and fight alongside the Fiji trade unions. But when you consider their behaviour towards the ILO, denying senior officials entry into the country on two occasions and a farcical offer that maybe they would let them in in December, and under conditions that aren’t transparent this is really insulting behaviour and it must be opposed. So we’ll initiate the debate. It’ll be interesting to see what will happen tomorrow. But certainly between the question of receivability, which will be on the agenda tomorrow, and a more substantive debate if that’s accepted in October, then, unless the Fiji government shows that it is going to change its tune and we can’t see it, then we will continue to pursue this avenue.

Radio New Zealand International

16) Fiji Public Asked To Critique Government Services
Public Service Commission wants to be held accountable

By Mereani Gonedua

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, June 19, 2013) – All Fijians have been invited by government to make constructive criticism regarding services provided by civil servants in all government offices.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) today announced that all government departments and Ministries will be open for suggestions and criticism next Tuesday when it celebrates its Public Service day.

“We would like to have an objective feedback from the public on the level of our public service delivery,” PSC Permanent Secretary Parmesh Chand said.

“We would like to engage with the public and we would like to be held accountable as well,” Chand said.

Chand said they would like to see how they have managed to provide services and the roles they have performed for the public, businesses and those in rural areas.

“We are increasingly opening up government and government services to everyone and everyone has the right to raise questions and critic services.”

He said they will be looking at speeding up response time for certain issues raised by the public and everyone should provide an honest feedback.

Meanwhile Permanent Secretary for Information Sharon Smith-Jones said services delivered need to be delivered as expected by the people and there needs to be more interaction with the people.

“It is also important for Permanent Secretaries and senior officials to interact with the public and understand what the public want and not only leave it to their junior staff to deal with,” Smith Jones said. “We need to understand problems from top to up,” she said.

She is also calling on the public to take advantage of the day as it would be a good way of interacting with government officials.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

17) Fiji parties imperiled by incomplete financial declarations

Posted at 07:00 on 20 June, 2013 UTC

Fiji’s Registrar of Political Parties, Mohammed Saneem, has released financial records of officials and applicants of three registered political parties and says he will now verify the declarations.

Under a regime decree, parties were obliged to submit financial details of their members and executives, as well as of their spouses and children by June 7th.

However, Fiji Village reports many officials and applicants have not revealed their sources of income, with some saying they don’t know their adult children’s affairs.

Mr Saneem has so far declined to say if adult children are subject to the decree.

According to the decree, any person who fails to comply with the requirements could face a 27,000 US dollar fine or up 10 years in prison, or both.

The Labour Party’s general secretary, Mahendra Chaudhry, has declared assets of about 2 million US dollars.

The regime leaders have kept their assets secret and also refuse to say how big their taxpayer-funded salaries are.

Radio New Zealand International

POLYNESIA:

18) Samoans Warned Before Migrating To New Zealand
In New Zealand, islanders worse-off economically: MP

By Sophie Budvietas

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, June 19, 2013) – With more than 18,000 Samoans applying for New Zealand’s annual immigration quota, Labour MP Su’a William Sio says Samoans should think twice before they apply.

Su’a – who is the Labor Spokesperson for Pacific Island Affairs – says New Zealand today is a very different New Zealand from the one that invited the first Pacific migrants onto its shores.

“If you come to NZ without a qualification or trade, then you are most likely to be working in low paid jobs under difficult conditions,” he says. “You are most likely to struggle to find on-going permanent work, and you’ll struggle to find affordable accommodation.

“You could also not find work at all and there is no support at all if you are a recent migrant to New Zealand.”

In a recent RNZI report, Immigration New Zealand’s Pacific regional manager Alan Barry says while almost 18,000 people applied for the computerized ballot – only 1,100 people would be eligible.

“In good, strong economic times, then the quotas are hit relatively easily compared to when the economy isn’t so strong because the job offer is the key to a successful quota application,” he says.

Barry says it’s possible that rebuilding work in Christchurch and new construction projects in Auckland will increase the number of jobs available to prospective migrants from Samoa.

However, despite the claims of strong economic times – Pacific Islanders in New Zealand are feeling the pinch more than ever.

According to Statistics New Zealand “On average, Pacific peoples have worse economic circumstances than the overall population, with the majority of Pacific peoples living in areas with the fewest economic resources.

“In the March 2010 quarter the unemployment rate for Pacific peoples was 14.4 percent, higher than for all ethnicities,” SNZ claims.

“The rise in the unemployment rate for Pacific peoples was greater than the total rise in unemployment.”

Su’a not only agrees with the above statistics he says things have worsened for many Pacific families in New Zealand since 2008.

“Pacific unemployment was at 16 percent in December 2012, and remains at these levels for the first quarter of 2013,” he says.

“It is much worse for Pacific youth age 15-19 years which stands at 43 percent compared with international youth unemployment of 12.2 percent.

“Over the past three years, the unemployment rate for Pacific people has consistently run two or three times above the unemployment for the general population.”

Su’a says The Salvation Army recently released a report titled More than Churches, Rugby and Festivals which confirms the plight of unemployment on Pacific peoples and highlighted the increasing deprivation of Pacific peoples in New Zealand versus the rest of the country.

“The gap of inequality between Pacific peoples and the rest of New Zealand has worsened in the last five years,” he says.

“From December 2007 to December 2012, the average weekly income for Pacific increased by a mere NZ$2 [US$1.59], while the average weekly income for the rest of New Zealanders increased by NZ$54 [US$43.13] from 2007-2012.

“This report also highlights the increasing numbers of Pacific families reaching out for food parcels from the Salvation Army which increased by 564% since 2007.”

Su’a says if people come to New Zealand without a qualifications or trade it would be better for them to stay in Samoa and get a qualification or trade first.

“If you are relying on your families in New Zealand to help you at first, again I would say to you to reconsider that decision,” he says.

“Many New Zealand families, not just Pacific are doing it tough at the moment.”

He says if Samoans want to work for low pay and live under tough conditions of unaffordable accommodation, rising cost of living, then that is the risk they take.

“What could happen to new migrants from Samoa who are unskilled and unqualified, is find themselves unemployed, find themselves struggling to provide a home for their families,” he says.

“And because they wouldn’t be eligible for any support from the Government, they could potentially put pressure on already taxing community services from the likes of the Salvation Army, or put pressure on their families to help them out.”

He says he has received many complaints from Samoans living in New Zealand and from immigration consultants regarding how the quota system works, and the difficulties many Samoans have in meeting the conditions of this quota system.

“Given these concerns, if Labour is in Government we would review how New Zealand implements this quota system,” he says.

“I would be looking at working closely with the Samoan authorities on how we can improve the quota system to meet our obligations under the Treaty of Friendship.

“New Zealand also has to be in cognizant of what impact it would have on the Samoan economy if New Zealand took Samoa’s smartest and brightest.

“I’m aware that Samoan’s Prime Minister and other Samoan MPs have expressed concern at the potential ‘brain drain.'”

Samoa Observer: www.samoaobserver.ws/

TOK PISIN:

19) Vanuatu i gutpela ples blong wokim bisnis: Peter Tari

Updated 20 June 2013, 16:46 AEST
Sam Seke

Reserve Bank blong Vanuatu i save lukluk long sait long moni na bisnis development i tok olsem Vanuatu i gutpela ples blong ol foran intesta igo wokim bisnis longen.

Acting gavaman blong Vanuatu Reserve Bank, Peter Tari i tokim business community long Australia olsem Vanuatu i wanpela gutpela kantri long ol foran investa i mekim bisnis.

Em itok ol samting we i stap, olsem gutpela gavman polisi na kost blong ol samting i stap low..i mekim Vanuatu i gutpela peles blong investment.

Mr Tari ibin toktok long dispela long naba 2 Australia Vanuatu Business Forum oli holim long Brisbane long Wednesday naba 19 long June.

Minista blong Commerce na Tourism, Marcellino Pipite wantaim ol ofisel na deleget long sait long economic na trade long Vanuatu, na ol bisnis pipol blong Australia nau i stap long dispela forum.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

BAHASA:

20) Kapal tongkang terbalik di teluk Papua 11 selamat

Terbit 20 June 2013, 19:16 AEST
Liam Cochrane in Port Moresby

Sebelas orang berhasil diselamatkan dari peristiwa kecelakaan terbaliknya kapal tongkang di Teluk Papua dan kini sedang dalam pemeeriksaan medis di Port Moresby, Papua Nugini.

Otoritas Keselamatan Maritim Nasional Papua Nugini telah mengidentifikasi kapal tongkang itu sebagai ‘Mundi Navigator,’ kapal berbendera PNG.

Dikabarkan dari seluruh korban kecelakaan hanya seorang yang mengalami cidera.

Belum diketahui apa yang menyebabkan kecelakaan kapal hingga terbalik di tengah lautan.

Sementara Otoritas Keselamatan Maritim Australia menerima signal panggilan daruratdan aktivasi suar sejak pagi pukul 03:30 (AEST)

Suar daurat itu berasal dari jarak 80 mil laut barat laut Port Moresby.

Sebuah pesawat dialihkan ke daerah itu dan pada pukul 9 pagi melaporkan penampakan tongkang terbalik dengan  tiga sekoci di dalam air yang ditumpangi oleh orang yang selamat.

Pihak berwenang mengatakan semua orang di kapal telah diselamatkan dan sedang dibawa ke Port Moresby oleh kapal penarik, Go Rigel yang dioperasikan oleh perusahaan Australia Oil Search di Teluk Papua.http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

FRENCH:

21) Après la Classe Économique et la Classe Affaires, la Classe X-L

Posté à 20 June 2013, 7:47 AEST
Pierre Riant

Samoa Air compte installer des sièges pour les passagers de forte corpulence. En clair, de plus de 130 kilos.

Cette société de transport aérien a créé la controverse en janvier dernier en fixant les prix des billets d’avion en fonction du poids du passager.

Samoa Air possède une petite flotte d’appareils et envisage maintenant de mettre en place une rangée de sièges Extra-large (X-L)  pour prendre en compte la corpulence des passagers.

Chris Langton, le directeur de Samoa Air a accepté de répondre à nos questions. Chris Langton qui pense au confort des passagers en surpoids.

LANGTON : « Les sièges habituels dans la plupart des avions ne sont pas vraiment confortables, ils sont difficiles d’accès et quand vous êtes coincés dedans, il n’y plus de place pour les jambes. Nous n’avons pas une grande flotte, mais nous avons pensé qu’il fallait faire quelque-chose.

Nous avons facilité l’accès à une rangée de sièges en construisant une petite rampe et nous avons élargie cette rangée de sièges de 30 à 35 centimètres. Maintenant, c’est un peu comme un sofa à trois places. »

Un sofa réservé aux passagers de plus de 130 kilos. Mais pourquoi cette limite de 130 kilos quand on sait que le surpoids affecte de nombreuses îles du Pacifique, notamment le Samoa mais aussi Tonga et j’en passe. Alors est-ce que ces 130 kilos ne sont pas un peu légers ?

LANGTON : « En fait, il n’y a pas de seuil-limite, nous faisons payer au kilo par individu, vous le savez. C’est simplement une estimation qui veut que les personnes de 130 kilos auront du mal à s’asseoir dans un siège habituel. Et nous devrions être en mesure de fournir un éventail de sièges. Et c’est là que nous avons pensé aux sièges X-L. Ça se fait pour les habits, les vêtements et l’industrie aérienne va devoir s’y mettre. Il va falloir classer des sièges en fonction du poids et de la taille des clients.

Les passagers nous donneront leurs détails et en fonction de ces renseignements nous pourront leur attribuer un siège approprié. »http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/

MEDIA/FILM+:

22) Media plays vital role in marginalized societies

THURSDAY, 20 JUNE 2013 12:58
Media plays a unique role in empowering  marginalized people within our societies says Manager of United Nations Development Programme’s(UNDP) Pacific Centre Gary Wiseman.

Speaking at the opening of a training on promoting the Right to Adequate Housing in Melanesia, Mr Wiseman reminded journalists of their role in raising awareness on informing citizens and responsible authorities of the problem of rapid urbanization as pressing problem to development in the pacific.

“The media plays a unique role in empowering those at the margins of society, giving them a voice in fostering an informed discourse, in shaping public opinion, in encouraging positive government responses, and contributing to government accountability towards the people,” he said.

He said Rapid urbanization and housing is a pressing development challenge in the pacific region and in particular in Melanesia.

He said people’s decision to move to cities and urban areas can have positive outcomes like gaining new skills, better economic opportunities and access to better social services.

However he stressed that it can also lead to people ended up in squatter settlements, living in very poor conditions that do not have access to basic social services, being exploited in the labour market, live in fear of being evicted, become homeless and putting their lives at risk.

Mr Wiseman said the aim of the workshop was to provide reporters with the knowledge, skills and means to produce informed reporting on urbanization and informal settlements which is becoming a growing problem in the urban cities in the four Melanesian countries.

Adding that the greater the awareness reporters create, the bigger the space will be for individuals living in settlements to raise their concerns with a broader audience and bring their experience and voice into the mainstream media and the policy space.

He stressed that different groupings within society like women, girls, and children are impacted differently by development challenges like urbanization.

“It is important to bring the situation and distinct challenges of different groups to light in order to encourage solutions that work for everyone.”

Meanwhile Mr Wiseman hope that the workshop will motivate journalists and leave inspired with new insights and ideas for solutions that might work in their respective countries’ context and keep the topic on the right to adequate housing alive in the public’s audience.http://www.solomonstarnews.com/

By Daniel Namosuaia
In Suva, Fiji

23) Educate the young generation on media freedom and free expression: IFEX
By Online Editor
5:03 pm GMT+12, 20/06/2013, Cambodia

A panelist at the opening session of the International Freedom of Expression (IFEX) Strategic meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia has called for the educating of the young on matters of media freedom and free expression for life time sustainability.

“We need to engage the young people now,” said Melinda Quintos de Jesus the Director of the Philippine based Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility.

The opening panel in the two day Strategic meeting highlighted various issues affecting media freedom and freedom of expression issues in Asia.

Ms de Jesus highlighted the continuing struggle that journalists face in the Philippines. She reminded the gathering of the November 23, 2010 massacre of 32 journalists on a single day.

This terrible incident is remembered the world over as World Impunity Day- every November 23rd.

“The defence of journalists must come from the community itself. They must feel like they losing something when a journalist is put away or silenced,” said the outgoing IFEX Council member.

A number of regional press unions in Asia have also signed the ‘Phnom Penh Declaration’ announcing the formation of a new Southeast Asian Journalist Union (SEAJU) to defend press freedom. It involves journalist unions from the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia and Myanmar.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

EDUCATION:

24) Report into troubled PNG university will not be made public

Posted at 05:21 on 20 June, 2013 UTC

The Papua New Guinea government says an investigation it ordered into unrest at the University of Technology in Lae will not be made public.

The government ordered the inquiry after a split between the management and the board at the university sparked rioting by students.

The students and many staff have been strongly supportive of Professor Albert Schram, who was sacked as vice chancellor just a few months after assuming the job.

The acting minister of higher education, Don Polye, says the inquiry’s report is not a public document and will not be made public.

Our Lae-based correspondent, Oseah Philemon told Don Wiseman the government’s decision is weird.

OSEAH PHILEMON: I know that people are concerned about that. Because they expected that report to be released publicly so that everyone knows exactly what has happened, especially the recommendations of Judge Sevua, who headed the investigation. His report has already been given to the government, but Mr Polye says that it will not be made public, and that is of concern. The government has seen the recommendations and they’re going to pick and choose which ones they can implement and which ones they will not implement. There are certain things they don’t want the public to know, in terms of the recommendations. That’s a bit worrying, because if that is the case problems at Unitech will never be solved.

DON WISEMAN: You’re living in Lae. What do most people there hope for out of this enquiry?

OP: Well, most people hope that the recommendations of the enquiry, of Judge Sevua investigation, will be made public so that people know exactly what the enquiry is saying, they know the truth or whatever. At least they have a clear knowledge of what has happened, so that they know exactly where Unitech can move from now on. Right now that’s not going to be the case, and we have a fear that the troubles at Unitech will just continue on.

DW: The staff, and we know, the students, were very strongly supportive of Dr Albert Schram. What’s the likelihood of him returning?

OP: Personally, Don, I think it is very slim. I don’t think Dr Schram will return to the country. Not that he doesn’t want to, but I think at higher levels of government and maybe in the bureaucracy, I fear that attempts will be made to ensure that he doesn’t return to Papua New Guinea or return to his seat as vice chancellor of Unitech. Mind you, he still continues to be paid while living in Australia. So they really have to make a decision – is Dr Schram going to come back as VC? Will he ever be allowed to re-enter Papua New Guinea, or is it all over for him? If it’s all over for him then I think they should say so and clarify that to him and just move on. Right now, because he lives overseas, there is an Acting VC at the university. The situation is calm at the moment, but it doesn’t mean that it’s all okay. I don’t think it is.

Radio New Zealand International

BUSINESS/TRADE+:


25) Business Forum lifts trade
By Online Editor
1:20 pm GMT+12, 20/06/2013, Fiji

Imports from Australia to Fiji amount to more than $739 million (US$400 million) while exports from Fiji to Australia totalled about $330m (US$179 million).

According to Fiji-Australia Business Council president Kalpesh Solanki, those figures from 2012 represented a trend they had noticed over many years.

He made the comment this week ahead of the 20th Australia-Fiji Business Forum at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre from July 28-30.

“Australia has been the main beneficiary of trade between the two countries. The Australian business community has continued to trade with Fiji over the years and remains Fiji’s largest trading partner — excluding oil imports from Singapore,” he said.

“Of course there will be highs and lows which are to be expected in business. However, tourism-related trade and investment has been strong in recent years as shown by the growth in Australian visitors to Fiji.

“Given the theme of this year’s forum is ‘Fiji is open for business’ the main thrust is to increase trade and investment from Australia into Fiji.”

He said this would also mean reducing the trade gap in Fiji’s favour.

Solanki believed the time was right for Australian businesses to seriously look at investment and trade in Fiji considering the improved taxation structure in Fiji, the upcoming 2014 elections and other incentives introduced over the past couple of years.

“It has been almost seven years since the last joint forum was held in Australia so it is a bit difficult to estimate how many delegates will attend,” he said.

“However, I am sure that there will be a strong delegation from Fiji. Australians have always been interested in doing business with Fiji as have Fijians wanting to do business with Australia.

“Having the forum in Australia will provide new opportunities for Fijian businesses to network with the Australian business community.” In a joint statement, Australia-Fiji Business Council president Greg Pawson said the forum would feature a showcase of contemporary Fiji fashion design at the pre-conference dinner on Saturday for the first time.

“Outcomes expected from the meeting will be improved understanding by businesses in Australia and Fiji of the opportunity for further developing the bilateral business and investment relationship, and identification for government of any issues which business groups in each country regard as requiring government policy or administrative action to facilitate bilateral business and investment growth,” he said.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS

26) ANZ goMoney launched in PNG

By Online Editor
1:16 pm GMT+12, 20/06/2013, Papua New Guinea

ANZ Banking group are committed to making banking services available to the vast majority of PNG.

With this commitment comes their recent initiative of the ANZ goMoney, their mobile phone banking service. In a press conference Tuesday, Governor of the Bank of PNG Loi Bakani said it was a milestone achievement for the banking group.

“I am impressed by the steps being taken by ANZ Bank and other banks and financial institutions to provide innovative products and services accessible to our rural communities,” he added.

Bakani highlighted that the launch of the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI) in April this year is an important vehicle to coordinate all the activities of financial inclusion.

He said through CEFI, the Central Bank will do advocacy to promote innovative products for mobile banking and financial education on how to use different financial products and services available on the market.

Bakani added that with the launch of the Microfinance Expansion Project (MEP) in 2012, the project has worked with many financial institutions to develop and roll out many financial products and services tailored to meet the needs of their customer base.

“MEP will also, in collaboration with the Education department and financial institutions, carry out broader financial education and literacy for the public,” stated  Bakani.

He congratulated ANZ for the launching of their new product, adding that the Central bank will continue to carry out an active advocacy role in the area of innovative banking and financial products. ANZ goMoney allows customers to send money to family and friends, pay their bills, purchase airtime top up vouchers and view their account balances and history on their mobile phones.

ANZ PNG managing director Mark Baker said the product was part of the company’s commitment to providing banking services to the rural majority.

“ANZ goMoney will provide customers with secure and immediate access to their money, making banking simpler and more convenient”.

Meanwhile, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report published recently on monetary and fiscal policy mix, highlighted the pending increase in resource revenues of PNG.

This was revealed by the Australian New Zealand (ANZ) Bank Pacific monthly report.

The report said that fiscal spending on non-trade-able goods drives macroeconomic outcomes as domestic capacity is limited.

Therefore, front loading of expenditures tends to lead to higher volatility of economic growth as the domestic economy cannot react in time.

Monetary policy cannot undo the effect of counterproductive fiscal policy without a cost, and traditional reserve accumulation will crowd out private investment due to real appreciation of the currency.

Savings through a sovereign wealth fund (SWF) can mitigate many of these possible negative impacts.

The 2013 budget remains broadly on track, according to Minister for Treasurer Don Polye who said that first quarter update of the 2013 budget remains on track.

Polye said that the fall in commodity prices is expected to reduce 2013 revenues by K275m, however this will be largely offset by higher GST (goods and service tax), and personal with company tax collections.

He said that PNG had grown 170% over the past 10 years (73% real growth), driven by the transport and communication sectors rather than the mining and quarrying sectors, which actually saw output decline.

PNG’s favourable medium term outlook (driven by higher mining activity and the LNG project), reduced political risks, and moderate government financial strength supported by low debt levels and increased reliance on domestic funding.

However, it also highlighted PNG’s small and non-diversified economy, low per capita income, and low institutional strength with inadequacies relating to governance, control of corruption and the rule of law.

Minister Trade, Commerce and Industry Richard Maru, said that PNG may withdraw from the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) free trade negotiations.

He said that PNG’s focus is to trade with the Melanesian Spearhead Group as it believes that a PACER Plus agreement would be one-sided in favour of Australia and NZ. PACER covers most of the Pacific, while ‘Plus’ includes Australia and NZ.

PNG’s Ministry of State Enterprises and Investment is discussing cross border economic opportunities with Indonesia.

As Indonesia is moving its oil and gas exploration focus east towards its border with PNG, it has indicated an interest in undertaking a joint exploration effort.

The leader of the PNG team, Dr Waine, indicated that the two countries are discussing power, road and fibre optic communication projects.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

27) Top trade deal inked between Jakarta, Port Moresby

By Online Editor
4:59 pm GMT+12, 20/06/2013, Indonesia

Chambers  of commerce from Indonesia and Papua New Guinea on Tuesday signed a landmark agreement in Jakarta to work together to promote growth of business in both countries.

The agreement was signed by Kadin (Indonesian chamber)  chairman Suryo Bambang Sulisto, and PNG Chamber of Commerce and Industry president John Leahy at the first-ever Indonesia-Papua New Guinea  business forum held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Jakarta.

The signing was witnessed by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Indonesian Minister for Industry Mohamad Suleman Hidayat, who gave kudos to both chambers for taking up the initiative to establish relationships.
Sulisto said both PNG and Indonesian economies had much in common.

“Our two countries show much in common,” he said.

‘We have similar economies, both blessed with extensive wealth and natural resources.

‘That’s why businesses are so important.

“Today, we are gathered to forge strong relationships between our business communities.

“I believe the signing of the MoU will open new opportunities for both countries.

“Our chamber and the PNG Chamber of Commerce and Industry will enter a new phase of cooperation today with the signing of the memorandum of understanding on cooperation, trade, and investment.

“Both chambers will be expected to exchange data and business information to promote trade and cooperation between the two countries.

“I believe the signing of the MOU will open new chances of cooperation between both countries.”

Leahy told the Indonesian business community that the PNG economy was booming and there was little chance of going wrong.

“You can now see 10 years of economic growth (in the PNG economy),” he told them.

“There’s a massive interest in hydrocarbons in PNG.

“Geothermal energy is another area where there is substantial interest.

“There’s more and more tuna processing in PNG.”

“There’s a lot of (mining) exploration going on at the border, and we envisage going into partnership with Indonesia.

“Agriculture is the backbone of PNG.

“There is a substantial need for investment.”.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS

LAW&ORDER:

28) Fiji gives nod to UN peacekeeping in Golan Heights

Posted at 07:00 on 20 June, 2013 UTC

Fiji’s government has confirmed that it agreed to a UN request for peacekeepers in the Golan Heights and they’ll be deployed at the end of June.

Some 170 troops will join the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in the Israeli-occupied territory along the border with Syria.

Last week, the UN said Fiji infantry and transport troops would replace contingents from Croatia and Japan.

Suva says it is confident its 35 year Middle East peacekeeping experience will serve the observer force well and it is determined to continue its contribution to international security.

Radio New Zealand International

CLIMATE CHANGE/CONSERVATION & ENVIROMENT:

29) RMI Government Denies Social Unrest During Drought
Foreign minister: people ‘just frustrated’ with limited resources

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, June 19, 2013) – The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) government has denied there’s drought-related social unrest in its northern atolls.

Some of the islands haven’t had significant rain for a year and are relying on donated portable desalination units for drinking water.

Earlier this month, the National Water Advisor to the Marshall Islands government, Tom Vance, described the situation in the islands of Enewetak and Utrik as “dire” and said there was a lot of social tension.

RMI Foreign Minister Phillip Muller has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat it’s an overstatement to describe the situation as unrest.

“People just get frustrated a little bit with everybody trying to get to the limited resources that we send out. But I think that is an overstatement.”

“I think people are trying to deal with the situation the best they can and try to be as useful as they can to one another as possible” he said.

Mr. Vance said up to seven thousand people were affected and many villagers had been forced to migrate to bigger centers, with nowhere to stay and overcrowding problems.

Relief organizations have boosted water availability via water-making units, but food supply and crop security remain an issue.

“The forecast for the next few months is that rain won’t be in the forecast for a while … and our main and long-term concern is the health of the people as well as the recovery of the food crops and the longer the drought is, we may not be able to have the food crops recover.”

However, the Minister is hopeful the situation will improve.

“We have got the green light from President Obama that they are willing to continue and increase their support on this drought situation. Also some UN assistance has been approved so far. So I think we will just continue to provide what we can,” he said.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

SPORTS:


30a) Draw unveiled for futsal championship
By Online Editor
10:31 am GMT+12, 20/06/2013, New Zealand

The eight teams involved in the OFC Futsal Championship Invitational now know the route they must take to become champions after confirmation of the official draw.

Five OFC member associations will take part in the tournament – New Caledonia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Tahiti and Vanuatu – and will be joined by two members of the Asian confederation – Australia and Malaysia – as well as an OFC Invitational team.

The tournament will be held at The Trusts Arena in Auckland, New Zealand, from July 23 to 27.

The teams have been split into two groups and will compete in a round robin system before a semi-final stage and play-offs to determine the other placings.

The groups are based on seeding in accordance with each team’s most recent performances at the OFC Futsal Championship and AFC Futsal Championship respectively.

Based on those seedings, the groups have been determined as follows:

Group A – Solomon Islands, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Malaysia

Group B – Tahiti, Vanuatu, OFC Invitational,Australia.

SOURCE: OFC/PACNEWS

30b) Fiji beat USA in Pacific Nations Cup

By Online Editor
10:38 am GMT+12, 20/06/2013, Japan

Fiji kept alive their hopes of winning the Pacific Nations Cup rugby tournament when they beat the United States in a comprehensive 35-10 showing in Japan on Wednesday.

The Pacific islanders scored four tries against the Americans’ one during the game in Nagoya, central Japan.

The victory takes Fiji to two wins against one defeat for 11 points, trailing leaders Canada by only one point.

The United States, ranked 17th against Fiji’s 14th, opened the scoring in the eighth minute when right centre Adam Siddall kicked a penalty to make it 3-0.

Minutes later, Fiji’s left centre Seremaia Bai’s squared the scoreline with the first of his three penalties in a game that also saw him make three conversions.

Scrum half Nikola Matawalu touched down near the left post after winning a scrum in the 16th minute for an 8-3 lead, setting up Bai’s conversion.

In the 22nd minute, full back Timoci Nagusa collected the ball near the right corner and scored a converted try, before the United States pulled one back through substitute Andrew Suniula and Siddall’s conversion, taking the half time score to 17-10.

Five minutes into the second half, Fiji number eight Masi Matadigo won a scrum and took the ball over the line to extend the lead.

Bai’s attempted conversion hit the post, but he stretched the score with a penalty in the 52nd minute.

The final try of the game came from a run from the centre life by Matawalu, who passed to substitute Nemia Kenatale in front of the USA posts.

Bai again converted and rounded things off with a penalty, allowing the Fijians to run out the game 35-10 winners.

SOURCE: AFP/PACNEWS

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