Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1145a ( Wednesday 16 December 2015 )

MELANESIA


 1a) PNG WNBP i hahamas long nupla Airpot

Updated 15 December 2015, 15:32 AEDT

John Papik

Gavana Sasindran Muthuvel itok nupla ples balus blong bai halvim ol wok bisnis long Provins

Ol bisnis komuniti na ol pipol long West New Britain Provins long Papua New Guinea nau i hamamas stret long nupela ples balus blong ol long Hoskins.

Dispela nupela ples balus long Hoskins oli wokim wantaim moni halivim ikam long Asian Development Bank na PNG gavaman i min olsem  nau bai moa pipol ilaik raun long provins na tu bai bringim moa investment.

Dispela em toktok blong West New Britain Gavana, Sasindran Muthuvel we emi tok dispela bai gutpela samting tru blong Provins na kantri.ABC

1b ) PNG opposition says super fund owed millions by govt
15 December 2015

The Papua New Guinea opposition leader says he believes the country’s largest superannuation fund, Nambawan Super Ltd, is owed US$825 million in unpaid government contributions.

The former treasurer, Don Polye, says inside sources tell him public servants who try to withdraw their money get only what they have put in – none of the state’s share, which is 8.4 per cent plus interest earned.

He says Nambawan Super cannot pay out until the government clears its debt.

Mr Polye says the company has not formally said it has an issue with the government contributions but that is not the information he is getting.

“Some 200,000 contributors throughout the country and I can smell a rat there. I can smell a rat there because it looks somewhat very similar to the National Provident Fund that saw people lose billions of contributions right around the country.”RNZI

2) PNG sea floor miner announces sales deal

15 December 2015

Nautilus Minerals says it has signed a deal to sell ore from the undersea deposits it intends mining in Papua New Guinea’s Bismarck Sea.

It says China’s Tongling Nonferrous Metals group will take some of the output from what would be the world’s first ocean floor mine, its Solwara 1 deposit.

Under the agreement, Tongling will buy copper, gold and silver, with the first delivery expected in the first half of 2018.

Nautilus’ chief executive Mike Johnston says Tongling will also build parts of the operation which will employ new technology.RNZI

3) Oro governor urges PNG to do more on illegal logging

15 December 2015

The Governor of Papua New Guinea’s Oro province says much more needs to be done to stop illegal logging in the country.

Gary Juffa has commended the government for issuing stop work orders for two logging companies operating in Oro province for alleged illegal logging.

But he encourages the government to revoke about 74 Special Agricultural Business Leases which are still in place despite being found by a commission of inquiry over two years ago to be largely fraudulent.

Mr Juffa says illegal logging by foreign entities remains rife in PNG and also comes with proliferation of illegal immigration, gun smuggling and drug manufacturing.

“That’s why we ought to kick them all out. Logging is not rocket science, anyone can do it. But you have to do it properly. You have to consider the environment. There has to be forest management plans in place. There has to be reforestation plans in place. There has to be consideration of specific species of flora and fauna and how we treat them, etc. None of these are ever considered. But now we’ve got to start doing that.”RNZI

4) PNG capital rations water

15 December 2015

Water rationing has been introduced in Papua New Guinea’s capital, Port Moresby, as the city tries to cope with a severe dry spell.

Paul Gore, the general manager of operations at the city’s water supplier, Eda Ranu, says the Surinumu dam is at only 35 percent capacity, and little heavy rain is expected for months.

He says drastic measures are needed to maintain that level for the next ten months, and people need to cut down on their water use.

Mr Gore says the sections of the city’s water network will be shut down every day.

“It’s a six hour interval. So some sections of the city will receive water for six hours, and then we will shut them off for another six hours, and then they will receive it for another six hours, and then we cut them off for another six hours.”

He says with little rain forecast for another few months, the dam’s capacity needs to be maintained.

“The current level we have is to last about seven to eight months, but we want to extend it further to about 10 or 12 if there is no rain in December, January, February and going towards April. The idea is to actually hold the current water level there just to maintain for the consumption only.”

Paul Gore says residents should conserve as much water as possible, and refrain from activities such as washing their cars.RNZI

5) Solomon’s’ can boast Pacific’s lowest debt to GDP level – The Solomon’s’ government says it will today pay off all of it domestic debt, marking an important milestone in financial reforms to the public sector. The country’s finance minister says the early repayment of more than US$12 million in bonds will save government US$1.2 million in interest payments. Snyder Rini says the payment of the bonds gives Solomon Islands the lowest debt to GDP ratio in the Pacific.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/292162/solomons’-can-boast-pacific’s-lowest-debt-to-gdp-level

6) Some rain in PNG, but UN warns drought continues

15 December 2015

The head of the United Nations System in Papua New Guinea says while there has been some rainfall in parched areas it is not enough and not falling everywhere.

Much of PNG has been in the grip of a drought brought by El Nino weather conditions that are forecast to persist until the end of summer.

UNDP Resident Representative in PNG, Roy Trivedy.

Photo: Network of International Development Organisations.

There have been reports of rain in the Highlands in recent weeks, but not enough and the UN’s country director, Roy Trivedy, says he fears aid donors will think the threat has passed.

“My worry is that, I think, with the rains coming people will start to take the foot off the pedal and start to relax, when actually what we need to do is to keep getting further assessments, keep constantly targetting and supporting people.”

Mr Trivedy says this support will be needed until the first crops are ready to be harvested.RNZI

7) Solomon Islands government announces historic debt repayment

6:02 pm GMT+12, 14/12/2015, Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands Government will fully repay all its domestic debts ahead of schedule today – marking a significant milestone in the history of the country’s financial management system.

The Minister of Finance and Treasury, Snyder Rini made the announcement in Honiara.

A total of SB$99.5 million (US$12.2 million) will be paid to bond holders as an early full repayment and final settlement of domestic bonds. The bonds that will be repaid ahead of schedule have maturity years ranging from between 2017 and 2031.

Rini said by repaying this debt early, the Government will save around SBD $10 million (US$1.2 million) in interest payments.

“This is a significant milestone in the history of financial management in the Solomon Islands and is an indication of the sound fiscal management and prudent debt management that has been practiced since 2004,” Minister Rini said.

Total Government borrowing as a percentage of GDP peaked in 2003 at 67%. Since then, much progress has been made on bringing debt down to a more sustainable level: the level of Government borrowing will be around 9% of GDP after this early domestic bond repayment is made.

The domestic bonds that will be repaid early came into effect between 2004 and 2006 and were established to repay to creditors around SBD$595 million (US$73.4 million) in domestic debt arrears that SIG had incurred leading up to 2006.

Since the execution of the bonds, the Government has lived up to its commitment by not defaulting on any scheduled payments which means the Government will have no formal domestic debts owing after this early debt repayment is made on.

The Honiara Club Agreement, signed in 2005, was an enabling factor that promoted fiscal discipline and prudent debt management in Solomon Islands in the period between 2005 and 2012.

The Honiara Club Agreement was replaced by the Solomon Islands Debt Management Framework in 2012. The Framework has its legal basis in the Public Financial Management Act (PFMA) 2013 and has been endorsed by Cabinet.

The main objective of the Framework is to ensure that debt does not again reach an unsustainable and unaffordable level, whilst providing a governance framework that promotes the use of debt to fund much needed development in the Solomon Islands.

New Government borrowing is only allowed in the Solomon Islands if it strictly complies with the Debt Management Framework.

“This early repayment has come about because of the Government’s sound fiscal and prudent debt management,” Rini said.

With the signing of the Honiara Club Agreement, introduction of the Debt Management Framework and passing of the PFMA 2013, there has been a sharp reduction in the debt burden of the Solomon Islands.

The Solomon Islands now has the lowest level of debt to GDP in the pacific.

“This is a clear reflection of the government’s commitment in ensuring this country moves forward,” Rini said.

SOURCE: SIG/PACNEWS

8) Four Australian MPs Visit Solomon Islands
Minister notes importance of Pacific countries

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 13, 2015) – Four Australian parliamentarians led by the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, the Hon Steven Ciobo MP, left Honiara last Thursday after a successful visit.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Sogavare, Minister Ciobo reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to a strong partnership with Solomon Islands focusing on stability, economic growth and human development.

“I was pleased to return to Honiara after my visit here in February this year,” said Minister Ciobo.

“My appointment as Minister for International Development and the Pacific demonstrates the importance the Australian Government places on Pacific countries such as Solomon Islands”.

Prime Minister Sogavare and Minister Ciobo jointly announced the Australian Government’s $50 million package of education support in Solomon Islands. The package will support basic education and scholarships. It also includes a new bilateral skills initiative which will assist Solomon Islands to produce technical and vocational graduates with internationally recognised qualifications.

Minister Ciobo also met with members of the local business community to discuss opportunities to increase investment in Solomon Islands. He also visited the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) Commissioner who briefed him on RSIPF’s preparedness for RAMSI’s drawdown.

This is the final leg of a week-long Pacific tour encompassing Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Solomon Islands.

Minister Ciobo was accompanied by a bipartisan delegation from the Australian Parliament including Mrs Nola Marino MP, Chief Government Whip; Mrs Jane Prentice MP, Federal Member for Ryan and Mrs Sharon Claydon MP, Federal Member for Newcastle.

Solomon Star

9) Air Vanuatu’s codeshare arrangements in doubt
8:30 pm GMT+12, 13/12/2015, Vanuatu

The codeshare arrangements Air Vanuatu shares with three international carriers are likely to be affected now that the national carrier of the Republic of Vanuatu has lost its membership of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The airlines are Australia’s Qantas, Air New Zealand and Fiji Airways.

Air Vanuatu’s Chief Executive Officer, Joseph Laloyer, has confirmed this situation and explained that when an airline loses its International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification process, this automatically affects its membership of IATA, the trade association representing and serving the airline industry world-wide.

Losing membership of IATA means an airline also loses its codeshare arrangements with airlines that are members of the international air transport association.

Laloyer had announced Friday that Air Vanuatu had temporally suspended its IOSA certification process. He explained that the Government had supported the decision to temporarily suspend the company’s IOSA certification process, which is part of a major restructuring of the national carrier that will go ahead in 2016 with the assistance of international aviation experts.

CEO Laloyer said they had notified the three airlines of Air Vanuatu’s position and that it was now up to Qantas and Air New Zealand to decide to when and whether to cease their codeshare arrangements with Air Vanuatu.

He explained that the loss of IATA membership only affected codeshares on outbound flights which Air Vanuatu shared with Qantas and Air New Zealand.

“Air Fiji is not affected because the codeshare with the airline is only on inbound flights.”

The Air Vanuatu CEO added that the codeshares with Air New Guinea is also not affected.

“We have appointed the world’s leading IATA-accredited IOSA audit organization, Aviation Quality Services GmbH (AQS) to lead the restructuring program,” Laloyer said.

The company restructure will focus on international operations, strengthening the airline and enabling it to be capable of achieving IOSA re-registration.

Laloyer promised the restructure would have minimal effect on passenger numbers in 2016 as the airline is committed to working with industry partners including Vanuatu Tourism Office (VTO) and hotel partners to increase visitor numbers to Vanuatu.

SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST/PACNEWS

10) Vanuatu conspiracy case adjourned

15 December 2015

A Vanuatu judge has adjourned the case of 11 former MPs and three lawyers charged with conspiracy until Tuesday next week.

The former MPs are among 15 who are serving prison sentences after they were convicted of bribery in October.

The conspiracy charges were filed after the then-speaker of parliament, Marcellino Pipite, pardoned himself and ten other MPs while he was acting president.

That was later overturned by the president, Baldwin Lonsdale, who later dissolved parliament in the political stalemate that followed the jailing of half the government of prime minister Sato Kilman.

Outside court, police investigators told journalists that their investigations into the saga are ongoing and they are expecting more arrests.

Immunity for lawyers

Three Vanuatu lawyers have been granted immunity by the public prosecutor, Josiah Naigulevu, in the case of an alleged conspiracy by 11 former members of parliament.

The three are Greg Takau, Robin Kababa and Eric Molbaleh.

They were initially charged over the controversial pardon issued by a convicted MP, Marcellino Pipite, to himself and others MPs after they were found to be guilty of bribery.

Pipite pronounced the pardons in his role as acting president but the decision was revoked and the court ruled that the action was unconstitutional.

Report say the three lawyers have submitted statement to the prosecution as prosecution’s witnesses.

At this stage, Wilson Aumai is the only local lawyer facing charge of conspiracy to defeat course of justice.RNZI

11) Investment in New Caledonia’s Koniambo queried

15 December 2015

One of the key investors in New Caledonia says its involvement in the Koniambo nickel plant in the territory’s north is under review.

The head of Glencore, Ivan Glasenberg, says the decision by mining companies to keep nickel operations going despite them being unprofitable is incomprehensible.

According to comments in the publication, Metal Bulletin, Mr Glasenberg has warned that his company is not married with Koniambo and it’s not its style to burn cash.

This comes after the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, put pressure on Glencore to act as the nickel price has plummeted to a 12-year low.

According to the Bloomberg newswire, BlackRock, whose mining fund is invested in many large companies, questions the miners’ reluctance to shut unprofitable operations.

Glencore has a 49-percent stake in the seven-billion US dollar Koniambo plant which was officially opened last year.

It is a major element in the French government’s plan to rebalance New Caledonia’s economy and to develop the poorer, mainly Kanak northern province.RNZI

12) Fiji leads the Pacific at the 10th WTO Ministerial conference

8:41 pm GMT+12, 14/12/2015, Kenya

The Fijian delegation led by Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Siddiq Koya is participating in preparatory meetings in Nairobi, Kenya, ahead of the 10th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference.

The Ministerial Conference is the decision making body of the WTO, which meets every two years. This year the meeting is being held in Nairobi, Kenya from 15–18 December. A total of 160 member countries will be represented by Ministers and will negotiate on key outcomes for the ongoing WTO negotiations or the Doha Round of negotiations.

Koya on Monday chaired the meeting of the Pacific WTO Group, which includes the six Pacific Island Countries that are WTO members. During the meeting, Fiji was appointed as the Pacific spokesperson on WTO matters, for the Ministerial Conference.

The Minister also participated in the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Ministerial preparatory meeting and highlighted Fiji’s priorities and concerns for the Ministerial Conference.

As a small island economy, Fiji acknowledges the significance of the rules of the WTO in international trade and their impacts on Fiji’s efforts to integrate into the global economy.

Fiji’s participation in the negotiations on this basis and negotiates through the group called the Small Vulnerable Economies and through the African Caribbean and Pacific Group.

The Conference will be opened on 15 December 2015 by the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Fijian delegation also includes, the Permanent Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Shaheen Ali, officials from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and representatives from the Fijian Mission based in Geneva.

SOURCE DINFO/PACNEWS

13) Fiji AG calls halt to committee meeting on torture

15 December 2015

Fiji’s Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed – Khaiyum has told Fiji media a parliamentary committee cannot look into allegations of torture.

FBC news reports a meeting of the parliamentary standing committee on foreign affairs and defence was cut short today as it looked into allegations of torture detailed by the Lautoka lawyer Aman Ravindra-Singh.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum says there is a process that parliamentary standing committees must follow as outlined in the Constitution.

The broadcaster reports the Opposition Leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa, claimed the Attorney-General was subverting parliamentary democracy after his call to the committee’s chairman directing him to suspend the deliberations.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum says this is well within the law and that his call was simply to advise the chair.RNZI

14) Fiji and Pacific leaders fought a good fight: EU – The European Union has commended Fiji and the neighboring Pacific islands for putting up a good fight at the COP21 meeting in Paris, France that ended yesterday. EU’s Head of Delegation to Fiji and the Pacific Andrew Jacobs has praised Pacific leaders for making their voices heard by the developed countries to combat climate change that’s affecting the region. Jacobs says the EU has lauded the coordinated efforts from the Pacific as the outcome worked out well.

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/35733/fiji-and-pacific-leaders-fought-a-good-fight-eu#sthash.8zk4eq7I.dpuf

15) Kepa wants to call GCC meeting to help climate refugees – Leader of Opposition Ro Teimumu Kepa is now looking at the option to call a Great Council of Chiefs meeting to discuss ways to give land to climate refugees. Ro Teimumu said while she has some reservations, she welcomes the agreement of the Conference of Parties in Paris.

http://fijivillage.com/news/Kepa-wants-to-call-GCC-meeting-to-help-climate-refugees-2srk95/

16) Fiji Airways group appoints new Chairman and Director – Fiji Airways has announced changes to its Board of Directors following its Annual General Meeting, with the appointment of a new Chair and Director. Rajesh Punja, Director of the Punjas Group of companies replaces current chair, Nalin Patel and Shaheen Ali, Permanent Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism takes over from Stefan Pichler as Director.

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/35732/fiji-airways-group-appoints-new-chairman-and-director#sthash.tAmldc6b.dpuf

http://fijivillage.com/news-feature/Rajesh-Punja-new-Fiji-Airways-Chairman-sr25k9/

17) Social media complaints flood Cyber Crime Unit – The Fiji Police Force Cyber Crime Unit receives more than 7 complaints a week with the most common being identity theft and bullying via social media. Chief of Intelligence ACP Henry Brown says the unit continues to be inundated with reports directly linked to social media websites. ACP Brown says there have also been instances of online shopping where the goods have not been delivered.

http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/35729/social-media-complaints-flood-cyber-crime-unit#sthash.FKQOPmmR.dpuf

18) Fiji Not Ready To Commit To PACER Plus Trade Agreement
Minister has some concerns with ‘development agreement’

By Felix Chaudhary

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Dec. 15, 2015) – Industry and Trade Minister Fa­i­yaz Koya opened the 13th round of PACER Plus (Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations) talks by issuing a strong statement, saying Fiji would not commit to PACER Plus because of concerns with aspects of the agreement.

“A development agreement essentially means securing long-term improved market access, preserving policy space, especially the right to regulate for development, creating employment, uplifting the livelihoods of all Pacific Islanders and achieving sustainable development,” he said.

“Our agreement on the table does not achieve this.”

The Industry and Trade Minister added that Fiji and other Pacific Island countries did not consider PACER Plus to be motivated by markets opened through the elimination of tariffs or removal of regulations on services and investment sectors.

“Today, we have a PACER Plus that does not provide binding commitments in labour mobility or development co-operation,” he said.

“Furthermore, the Pacific parties are being pushed to give away their policy space, especially the right to regulate.”

Mr Koya stressed that development had to be at the core of PACER Plus and negotiations resulted in long term, predictable and sustainable foundation that led to increased exports, job creation, poverty alleviation and private sector growth among Pacific Island countries.

“The final outcome should reflect this by taking into account the different levels of development between Australia and New Zealand on one hand and the Pacific Island countries on the other.”

Fiji Times Online.

19) India To Assist Fiji Improve Infrastructure Development
New Delhi could help with roads, ports, shipping

By Reginald Chandar

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Dec. 13, 2015) – The Indian Government has expressed its desire to assist Fiji in the infrastructure sector.

Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Parveen Bala held talks with his Indian counterpart and Minister for Road Transport and Highways Shri.

Nitin Gadkari at the Transport Bhawan in India this week where Minister Gadkari expressed his Government’s desire to assist in the development of Fiji’s road infrastructure including the constructions of roads and flyovers, ports and shipping.

Minister Gadkari also informed Minister Bala that he was working on energisation in conjunction with AAA rating organisations in the world whereby his ideas go abroad for construction of roads using models such PPP or BOT.

He advised that the cost of construction is inexpensive compared to other countries while assuring good quality of construction and use of material.

India is also willing to assist by providing top engineers and professionals.

Fiji’s High Commissioner to India, Mr Yogesh Karan was present at the talks and requested for technical expertise to be provided to Fiji.

Minister Gadkari assured him of India’s assistance in this area by deploying qualified and experienced engineers and city planners to Fiji.

High Commissioner Karan also requested the Indian Minister to send a team of experts to Fiji to conduct feasibility studies for the construction of flyovers to ease traffic congestions.

The parties agreed that Fiji submit a proposal detailing areas that requires assistance for Minister Gadkari and his team to consider while High Commissioner Karan proposed for a Memorandum of Understanding in areas of Cooperation between the two countries.

Fijilive

20) USP welcomes new Pro-Chancellor

AVINESH GOPAL
Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Update: 6:14PM UNIVERSITY of the South Pacific’s new Pro-Chancellor and chair of the USP Council, Winston Thompson was welcomed to the university’s Suva campus yesterday.

Mr Thompson, a highly respected former senior public servant, was appointed by the USP Council in October.

He said he would do his utmost as the Pro-Chancellor to improve the reputation of USP.

Also, he said that USP has had a good track record to ensure greater support from its development partners.Fijitimes

21) Seaweed, oyster farming a success

Serafina Silaitoga
Tuesday, December 15, 2015

SEAWEED and oyster farming have been successful in the North especially among women’s groups of rural areas.

Divisional Fisheries Officer North Joji Vakawaletabua said the interest from women’s groups continued to thrive.

One of the reasons, he said, was because of the income women received from seaweed and oyster farming.

“We have worked closely with the women’s groups, especially in villages, and their commitment and dedication in making seaweed farming a success has just been encouraging,” Mr Vakawaletabua said.

“The most encouraging issue about these fisheries projects is seeing these women turn the income into useful things to benefit the villagers.

“In Navunievu in Bua, the women started a shop and we are blessed to be working with groups that have long-term plans.”

Mr Vakawaletabua said more groups around the North had shown interest.

“The advantage of this is the market is readily available and our buyers are always ready to purchase so the women have no problem in marketing seaweed,” he said.

“What we are also working on is ensuring that we meet the market demand, which is quite high at this stage.

“Some groups who are already involved in seaweed and oyster farming have asked for more lines and that’s interesting.”

To boost supply and meet market demand, Mr Vakawaletabua said they had sought help from an international organisation which gave things such as boats, engines and safety equipment for seaweed farmers around the country.Fijitimes

POLYNESIA

22) Tuvalu To Train Domestic Violence Counsellors

Small population, familiarity make victims reluctant to speak out

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 15, 2015) – Tuvalu is planning to train up more counsellors to deal with high rates of domestic violence.

The country has a small popluation of just under 10,000 and familiarity and cultural sensitivies mean victims are often reluctant to report cases and seek help.

The Director of Tuvalu’s Gender Affairs Department Asita Molotii says efforts are now going in to enforcing the Family Protection Act and providing services for the victims.

She says religious leaders are also being trained up so there are many more people for victims to turn to.

“Confidentiality is one big huge challenge where they don’t trust to even share with the counsellors and policemen and that is why we have actually turned to the police to take the lead.”

Ms Molotii says a domestic violence unit is being set up within the police force.

Radio New Zealand International

23) Tonga forecasters say El Niño is approaching its peak

15 December 2015

Tonga’s Met Office is forecasting that the strong EL Niño affecting the country is likely to be approaching its peak.

Tonga is one of half a dozen Pacific nations suffering periods of drought over the past five months.

Radio Tonga reports the Met Office saying their modelling shows the El Niño is likely to begin declining early next year, although some impacts may persist further into 2016.RNZI

24) Am. Samoa Chamber: Economy Flat, Few Job Opportunities
Chairman says there has been no significant investment in territory

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Dec. 11, 2015) – Chamber of Commerce chairman David Robinson has described American Samoa’s economy in 2015 as “flat” with high unemployment, despite talks of new investment opportunities that would provide new jobs.

Speaking at Wednesday’s Chamber of Commerce general membership meeting, which failed to attract a quorum in order to elect a new board for 2016, Robinson presented his end-of-the year review of the territory’s economy, saying that “for the most part” the territory’s economy for 2015 “has remained flat.”

“Unemployment remains high, disposable income remains low and there’s been no significant new investment in the territory, which offers new job opportunities,” apart from Tri Marine International’s new multi million cannery Samoa Tuna Processors Inc. plant, and some of the hiring that took place through ASTCA, with the cable installation of the multi million dollar Broadband Linking the American Samoa Territory (BLAST) project carried out by US based Michels company, he said.The Samoa News

25) Polynesian Airlines, Air Tahiti Nui Sign Partnership Agreement
PM Tuilaepa: MOU ‘spirit of Polynesian cooperation and brotherhood’

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Dec. 13, 2015) – Polynesian Airlines and Air Tahiti Nui (A.T.N) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U) for flights to, from and beyond Samoa.

The M.O.U with the Tahiti, French Polynesia airline was announced by Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, in a statement issued by Polynesian Airlines yesterday.

“This is indeed an historic achievement,” Prime Minister Tuilaepa declared.

“This working together of Polynesian Airlines and Air Tahiti Nui is in the true spirit of Polynesian cooperation and brotherhood.”

“It is in line with the Polynesian Leaders Group’s vision of connecting all Polynesian countries with the larger metropolitan centres, with which much of our trade occurs.”

“Air services are vital for Polynesian countries and this is an excellent opportunity to showcase what we have to offer.”

According to the Prime Minister, who has just returned from the COP21 in Paris, the relationship with A.T.N “opens Samoa up to Asia, North America and Europe directly.” Samoa Observer

26) Cooks parliament to sit today – The Cook Islands parliament is to meet from today for just the second time this year, and local reports say the sitting may last only three days. A petition opposing purse fishing in the Cooks exclusive economic zone is likely to be considered, but another against the Te Mato Vai water infrastructure project has not been completed in time.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/292165/cooks-parliament-to-sit-today

MICRONESIA

27) Guam’s Public Hospital Losing Employees To Private Facility
Regional Medical City offering higher pay than GMH

By Jerick Sablan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Dec. 15, 2015) – The Guam Memorial Hospital could face critical staff shortages due to employees leaving for better paying jobs at the island’s new private hospital, according to GMH officials.

Officials from the island’s public hospital spoke about the ongoing problem during a board meeting on Dec. 3 and said GMH is working on a long-term recruitment plan.

Acting Nursing Administrator Josephine Eustaquio said four former GMH nurses are now working at the Guam Regional Medical City in Dededo, which opened in July. Because the nurses left, a cap on beds has been placed on the hospital’s nursery unit.

The same happened in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. The ICU had enough nurses to manage 14 beds, Eustaquio said. That dropped to 10 beds, and now it’s eight.

This limits the number of patients that can be admitted into the ICU.

There aren’t enough specialty nurses to operate all the ICU beds and hasn’t been for some time, GMH Administrator Ted Lewis said. GMH is managing the best it can, and hospital officials are working to hire more staff, he added.

“We just don’t have enough. We’re not going to stop our effort,” he said.

The public hospital also has lost doctors to the new hospital, GMH Medical Director Dr. Larry Lizama said.Pacific Daily News

28) Nauru court throws out MP passport case

15 December 2015

A Nauru opposition MP’s fight to get his passport re-issued has suffered a major defeat with the court throwing out the application due to it being out of time.

Roland Kun had his passport cancelled by Justice Minister David Adeang in June; although he has not been charged with any crime.

Mr Adeang has made representations to the United Nations that Mr Kun has been charged, in relation to a protest outside Parliament in June.

Mr Kun’s lawyer said the government had used every chance to delay the matter and has avoided making any submissions to explain its actions.

Mr Kun has been unable to see his family for six months, and he said it was doing them harm.

“There’s just no end in sight, in terms of what we are going through, being now already separated for six months. It is very disappointing. It seems unlikely we’re going to be spending Christmas together and so that is very hard for us.”

Mr Kun slams fact-finding mission to island

Mr Kun has also rubbished comments made by members of a fact-finding mission from the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Albert Mariner, the Head of its Caribbean and Pacific Section, visited Nauru last week with the Solomon Islands Foreign Minister, Milner Tozaka.

They met with opposition MPs and said they conveyed their concerns to the government, and were confident in the due process of the courts.

Mr Kun said the comments were bewildering.

“I find it very difficult to understand how they can now say due process is being observed here on the island and the rule of law is intact. They really do need to go beyond just stating that, and explain themselves.”

Mr Kun said he had an unscheduled meeting with the two representatives late on their final day, after business hours and before a scheduled dinner.RNZI

29) CNMI asks Air Force to drop Saipan plan

15 December 2015

The government of the Northern Marianas says it wants the US Air Force to withdraw its plan to build a divert airfield on Saipan.

The governor Eloy Inos says the US desire to acquire more land on Saipan for that purpose runs counter to the legal foundations of the CNMI’s relationship with the US.

The CNMI government says instead of using Saipan as part of a hybrid plan, the Air Force should just use the island of Tinian because two thirds of its land is already being leased by the Department of Defense.

The acting governor Ralph Torres said because the Air Force wants Saipan included, the divert project now threatens to undo the touchstone agreement upon which the people of the Northern Marianas Islands agreed to join the American family of states.

Mr Torres also says the Air Force has failed to live up to its promises to build a base on Tinian and solely using it as a divert base could fulfill that shortcoming.RNZI

30) Greenpeace urges forest transparency from Jakarta

Greenpeace has called on the Indonesian government to take serious steps to counter rampant forest fires across the republic including Papua region.

Fires from land clearance on drained peatlands have catapulted Indonesia to being one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gasses.

Greenpeace’s Indonesia forest campaigner Yuyun Indradi says the fires in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua are largely out of control.

“This is the worst after the 1997 peat and forest fires. So this has already emitted more than the daily emissions in the US, so it is outrageous.”

Yuyun Indradi says Indonesia’s government must stop stonewalling over the list of companies implicated in the forest and peat fires.

He says Jakarta should also invest more in forest protection, including strengthening regulations and supporting local groups with the knowledge and skills on preventing fires.

Mr Indradi says an immediate action required is for government to block all the many canals which drain the peatlands where the fires are currently raging.RNZI

31) Paris deal won’t save low-lying island nations from rising sea levels, Kiribati President warns

8:38 pm GMT+12, 14/12/2015, France

The climate deal struck by 195 nations in Paris will fail to save low-lying island nations from being overcome by rising sea levels, the President of Kiribati has warned.

Kiribati lies in the Pacific Ocean 4,000 miles from Australia and its average height is just two metres above sea level, putting it among the countries most threatened by climate change.

The deal struck in Paris at the weekend to limit temperature rises from global warming to 2°C is too little, said Kiribati’s President, Anote Tong.

He and other leaders from island states had called for the rise to be limited to 1.5°C at the most “if we are to be given a chance” of surviving.

Asked if the Paris accord would be enough, President Tong told the BBC: “No, I don’t think so. Even with 1.5 degrees, we would still have a problem.”

Crucial to his hopes, however, is a fund agreed in Paris that should help Kiribati and other islands adapt to climate change – if enough money is put into it by developed nations.

The next test, he said, was to see “how committed” wealthy countries were to providing the promised U$100bn for the fund to assist vulnerable nations suffering loss and damage from climate change.

Tong’s belief that any rise above 1.5°C would be a disaster was backed by Tony de Brum, Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands.

During the negotiations de Brum had repeated the mantra “1.5 to stay alive”. However, while aware the deal was not a panacea, he said it offered hope.

“We have made history,” he said as the accord was agreed. “With this agreement, I can go back home to my people and say we now have a pathway to survival.

“Climate change won’t stop overnight, and my country is not out of the firing line just yet, but today we all feel a little safer.”

This hope was shared by 18-year-old Marshall Islands resident Selina Leem, who addressed the Paris conference, handing out pieces of coconut leaf to delegates to remind them of her homeland and their contribution to helping save “a little island and the whole world”.

She said: “This agreement is for those of us whose identity, whose culture, whose ancestors, whose whole being, is bound to their lands.

“This agreement should be the turning point in our story, a turning point for all of us.”

Some small island states’ politicians were reassured that the deal agreed at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change conference would go a long way towards protecting them.

Thoriq Ibrahim, the Environment Minister for the Maldives – an island nation in the Indian Ocean that is no more than 2.4m above sea level – described the deal as a victory as he arrived home last night.

Before leaving Paris, he had said: “I hope it will not take another 25 years to achieve our goals. I hope that my children and my grandchildren can be thankful for the work we have done here.”

Small island nations are among the most threatened from the impacts of climate change, the IPCC says, with sea-level rises and the impacts of extreme weather cited as the chief problems.

“Many small island states are threatened with partial or virtually total inundation by future rises in sea level,” the IPCC said in a statement. “In addition, increased intensity or frequency of cyclones could harm many of these islands.”

As sea levels rise, the inhabitants of small islands are increasingly forced to move to higher ground or emigrate to other countries. Plants and animals found only on these islands are threatened with extinction.

SOURCE: THE INDEPENDENT/PACNEWS

PACIFIC

32) Aging in East Asia

Ropate Valemei
Tuesday, December 15, 2015

EAST Asia Pacific is aging faster than any other region in history, and some middle-income and wealthier economies could lose as much as 15 per cent of their working-age population by 2040, according to a new World Bank report.

The report, Live Long and Prosper: Aging in East Asia and Pacific, finds that 36 per cent of the world’s population ages 65 and above, or 211 million people, live in East Asia, the largest share among all regions.

By 2040, the bank highlighted that graying of the population could shrink the number of working-age adults by more than 15 per cent in Korea and more than 10 per cent in China, Thailand and Japan.

In China alone, that would translate into a net loss of 90 million workers.

“The rapid pace and sheer scale of aging in East Asia raises policy challenges, economic and fiscal pressures, and social risks,” the World Bank says.

Without reforms, for example, it states pension spending in the region is projected to increase by eight to 10 per cent of gross domestic product by 2070.

“Meanwhile, most East Asian health systems aren’t prepared for age-related spending, as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses could account for 85 per cent of all disease burdens by 2030.

“In addition, today’s older population is less likely than previous generations to have adequate family support.”

“East Asia Pacific has undergone the most dramatic demographic transition we have ever seen, and all developing countries in the region risk getting old before getting rich,” said Axel van Trotsenburg, regional vice president of the World Bank’s East Asia and Pacific Region.

“Managing rapid aging is not just about old people, but requires a comprehensive policy approach across the life cycle to enhance labour-force participation and encourage healthy lifestyles through structural reforms in childcare, education, healthcare, pensions, long-term care, and more.”

The report examines how aging may affect the drivers of economic growth in the region, as well as patterns of public spending.

It reviews current policies and provides recommendations on how countries with diverse demographics can address challenges in the labour market, social security systems, and health and long-term care.

It also looks at how older people currently live, work and retire across the region. The bank adds rapid aging in East Asia is partly a result of the region’s breakneck pace of economic development in recent decades, the report says.

“Higher incomes and better education have led to steady increases in life expectancy, and have been accompanied by sharp declines in fertility rates, with a growing number of countries now well below replacement levels.

“As a result, by 2060, one in five of the oldest countries in the world will be in East Asia, compared with just one in 25 in 2010.”Fijitimes

ASIA

33a) Four dead, millions without power as Typhoon Melor tears through Philippines

Updated 15 December 2015, 19:55 AEDT

Typhoon Melor rips through the central Philippines, bringing heavy rain and strong winds that left at least four people dead and millions without power, officials say.

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Typhoon Melor has ripped through the central Philippines, bringing heavy rain and strong winds that left at least four people dead and millions without power, officials say.

Three people were killed in floods in Northern Samar province in the Visayas region, municipal disaster officer Jonathan Baldo said.

Flying debris also killed a man in Northern Samar, national disaster agency spokeswoman Mina Marasigan told AFP, without being able to confirm the other three deaths.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Melor, known locally as Nona, toppled trees and cut electricity to at least seven provinces.

Christmas lanterns and lights, tin roofs and branches littered the streets of Legazpi City, which was battered by strong winds.

People who fled from their coastal homes spent a sleepless night in evacuation centres, sprawled on classroom tables and chairs as flying debris swirled around outside.

Melor whipped the vast Bicol peninsula, with a population of 5.4 million people, overnight before slamming into the Romblon islands on Tuesday morning.

Gusts had weakened somewhat but were still recorded at 170 kilometres per hour, down from 185 kilometres per hour on Monday.

There were no immediate reports of casualties in the typhoon-prone Bicol region, where 720,000 people were evacuated.

“We have zero floods, zero deaths, zero casualties,” Albay governor Joey Salceda told ABS-CBN television.

“What we are asking for is the early restoration of electricity,” he said, adding the entire province of 1.2 million people was without power.

NDRRMC spokeswoman Mina Marasigan said authorities were assessing Melor’s damage while bracing for another typhoon brewing east of Mindanao.

Bad weather forced the cancellation of 16 domestic flights on Tuesday, adding to the 56 flights cancelled on Monday, the NDRRMC said.

The storm was expected to weaken further as it heads to Mindoro island and out into the South China Sea later on Tuesday, state weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said.

The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 typhoons a year, many of them deadly, with the strongest happening towards the end of the year.

The last deadly storm to hit the country this year, Koppu, killed 54 people and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes after it pummelled rice-growing northern provinces in October.

In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan flattened entire communities in the central region with tsunami-like waves, leaving 7,350 people dead or missing.

AFP

33b ) China economy shows signs of growth, more to be done

Reuters
Tuesday, December 15, 2015

CHINA’S activity data was stronger than expected in November, with factory output growth picking up to a five-month high, signaling that a flurry of stimulus measures from Beijing may have put a floor under a fragile economy.

Still, analysts believe more policy steps are needed to weather nagging headwinds from a cooling property market, risks from high domestic debt levels, and weak global demand as financial markets brace for interest rate rises by the US Federal Reserve.

“Real interest rates are still high due to falling producer prices,” Wang Jun, senior economist at the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE), a Beijing-based think-tank.

“It’s still necessary to cut interest rates to support economic growth and combat deflation.”

Factory output grew an annual 6.2 per cent in November, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed, quickening from October’s 5.6 per cent and beating expectations of 5.6 per cent.

Growth in China’s fixed-asset investment, one of the main drivers of the economy, rose 10.2 per cent in the first 11 months, unchanged from the gain in January-October, and higher than an expected 10.1 per cent rise.

Retail sales grew an annual 11.2 per cent in November ? the strongest expansion this year ? compared with 11.0 per cent in October. Analysts forecast 11.1 per cent growth in November.

“While low base could be the factor driving the headline growth, we still have to acknowledge that China’s data are illustrating signs of stabilisation, albeit at a low level,” said Zhao Hao, senior economist at Commerzbank in Singapore.

The data came after weak trade and inflation readings earlier this week, which underscored the persistent slack in the economy.

WORLD

34) Plan to cap influx

Reuters
Tuesday, December 15, 2015

KARLSRUHE, Germany – Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday she wanted to “drastically decrease” the number of refugees coming to Germany, signalling a compromise to critics of her open-door policy from within her conservatives on the eve of a party congress.

Ms Merkel has resisted pressure from allies within her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) to put a cap on the number of refugees entering Germany, which is expected to top one million this year.

“At the same time we took on board the concerns of the people, who are worried about the future, and this means we want to reduce, we want to drastically decrease the number of people coming to us,” Ms Merkel told broadcaster ARD.

Ms Merkel, whose popularity has fallen over her handling of the refugee crisis, said the word “limit” did not feature in the CDU’s main resolution which will be debated at the two-day party congress starting yesterday in the southern city of Karlsruhe.

The chancellor added there was broad support in the CDU for her strategy to reduce the numbers.

This included working with Turkey to fight traffickers, improving the situation at Syrian refugee camps in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, and strengthening control of the European Union’s outer borders.

Ms Merkel’s conservative critics want her to get the number of arrivals down before three state elections in March and say her hopes of running for a fourth term in 2017 would be in danger.

Her strategy also includes finding a solution to the migration crisis on the EU level, where she is meeting resistance from member states opposed to a quota system to distribute refugees.

FRENCH 

34b) Brèves du Pacifique – mardi 15 décembre 2015

Mis à jour 15 December 2015, 16:08 AEDT

Élodie Largenton

En Australie, une cérémonie aura lieu ce soir sur la place Martin, à Sydney, un an après la prise d’otages qui a fait trois morts.

.
Trois morts, dont le ravisseur, Man Haron Monis. Les familles des deux victimes, le manager du café Lindt, Tori Johnson, et une cliente du café, Katrina Dawson, seront présentes ce soir aux côtés de responsables politiques. Le Premier de l’État de Nouvelle-Galles-du-Sud, Mike Baird, s’est rendu sur les lieux de la prise d’otages dès ce matin. Un an après le drame, il veut souligner la force et le courage dont les habitants de Sydney ont fait preuve : « On ne cèdera pas face à ceux qui veulent frapper cette ville, qui cherchent à nous diviser. Il y a de l’espoir. Cet espoir qui est né de cet événement tragique, je crois que personne ne l’oubliera. Aujourd’hui, on est en peine en pensant à ceux qu’on a perdu, mais on a aussi confiance en l’avenir, étant donné la manière dont la ville a fait face. »
En Australie, le déficit budgétaire s’alourdit de 2,3 milliards de dollars à cause de la baisse du prix des matières premières, et notamment du minerai de fer. Le déficit atteint désormais 37,4 milliards de dollars. Des chiffres révélés ce midi par le ministre des Finances, Scott Morrison.
  • Le service public est trop politisé aux Îles Salomon, dénonce l’ONG Transparency International. Le gouvernement a promis de prendre des mesures et d’introduire de nouvelles lois pour lutter contre la corruption, mais « tant que les hommes politiques continueront à se mêler de ce qui tout ce qui se passe au sein du service public, rien ne changera », souligne Ruth Liloqula, la présidente de l’organisation aux Îles Salomon, au micro de la radio nationale néo-zélandaise.
  • Manifestation aux Samoa américaines contre la venue d’un représentant de Donald Trump, candidat républicain à l’investiture présidentielle américaine. « L’union, pas la division », « stop à la haine » : c’est ce qu’on pouvait lire sur les affiches brandies par ces quelques manifestants réunis sur la plage d’Utulei. Les Samoa américaines sont un territoire non incorporé des États-Unis, donc les habitants de l’archipel ne voteront pas, l’an prochain, lors de la présidentielle américaine. Mais la branche locale du parti républicain a son mot à dire dans le choix du candidat qui représentera le parti à l’élection. Des représentants de deux autres candidats, Ted Cruz et Ben Carson, se sont déjà rendus aux Samoa américaines.
  • Les citoyens de Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée peuvent désormais se rendre librement en Indonésie. C’est l’ambassadeur indonésien à Port-Moresby qui a annoncé la nouvelle : les détenteurs d’un passeport papou qui veulent passer des vacances de l’autre côté de la frontière n’ont plus à demander de visa. ABC
SPORT
 

35) Fiji to face New Caledonia in futsal championship opener

AMIT RAJ
Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Update: 4:43PM FIJI will face New Caledonia in the opening round of the 2016 Oceania Football Confederation Futsal Championship on February 8 next year.

The Intiaz Khan-coached side is on a tour to New Zealand preparing for a good outing in the championship.

Fiji Football Association released draws of the championship today.

The OFC Futsal Championship will be played at the Vodafone Arena in Laucala Bay from February 8-13.Fijitimes

36) Fiji sevens coach gives team a pass mark

15 December 2015

Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan has given his team a pass mark after the first two rounds of the World Series.

The Dubai winners were upset 17-14 by France in the Cup quarter finals in Cape Town, having led 14-0 after five minutes.

They bounced back to beat Australia 38-19 and the USA 29-19 to claim the Plate title.

Ben Ryan admits it was disappointing to let France back into the match but says the Tricolors deserve credit for how they played.

He was pleased with how Fiji responded in their final two matches and is satisfied with where the team is at going into Christmas.

“We’re still top of the tree, albeit on points difference ahead of South Africa but that’s something that we probably would have taken at the beginning of our trip, before Dubai. If someone had said at the end of Cape Town you’d be standing at number one in the series it’s a good start-point for us and if you look at last season we came third in Dubai and Plate runners-up in South Africa, so we’re about six points ahead of where we were this time last year”.

The World Series resumes in Wellington at the end of January.RNZI

37) Fiji in Pool B in Wellington

Shalveen Chand
Tuesday, December 15, 2015

THE Vodafone Fiji finished fifth in the Cape Town Sevens and find themselves in Pool B of the Wellingtons Sevens as the World Sevens Series moves to Oceania.

World Rugby has announced the pools for the third round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Wellington, to be played on 30-31 January 2016.

The draw for the HSBC Wellington Sevens was made before the Cup final at the second round of the series in Cape Town, with winners South Africa heading Pool A at the Westpac Stadium after a 29-14 over Los Pumas in their home tournament.

Neil Powell’s side will come face to face with New Zealand, Scotland and Russia, while the runners-up Argentina compete against series leaders Fiji, Wales and the only non-core side in Wellington Japan in Pool B.

Having finished third in Cape Town with a last-minute try from Julien Candelon and conversion from Terry Bouhraoua, France will play Mike Friday’s USA, England and Samoa.

Benjmain Ayimba’s Kenya complete the top four seeds and await Australia, Canada and Portugal.Fijitimes

38) Development series a welcome opportunity for Cook Islands netballers

15 December 2015

The Cook Islands netball coach Dale Atkinson says this week’s two match series against a New Zealand Development Squad is a chance for the players to get some much-needed time together on court.

The Black Pearls finished fourth at the Pacific Games in Port Moresby in July and financial restraints mean they haven’t been able to get together

The bulk of the squad is locally based but there has been a number of changes since their last hit-out.

“We’ve only just come together so I’m looking at seven new players who I’ve only just met but what I can tell you from a team culture point of view is everyone has bonded really well and trainings have been going extremely well. They’ve adjusted to the gameplans and strategies that we utilised in Papua New Guinea and so for me as a coach that’s been a real bonus”.

Dale Atkinson says it will also be a valuable learning experience for her squad to test themselves against a number of players with ANZ Championship experience.RNZI

39) NZ Rugby boss Steve Tew: Wellington has ‘challenges’ as sevens host
8:45 pm GMT+12, 14/12/2015, New Zealand

The times they are a changing with national rugby boss Steve Tew admitting Wellington’s place as the undisputed home of New Zealand’s international sevens tournament could finally be at risk.

And the New Zealand Rugby chief executive has also conceded that the national body did not get as many All Blacks to commit to the 2016 Olympic sevens programme as they would have liked, given the stated priority to deliver Olympic gold in Rio next year.

Tew was grilled heavily around the sevens game in his regular post-board meeting conference call with the media on Monday, and his comments around the Wellington leg of the IRB’s world series were particularly telling, given a slower-than-expected ticket and corporate takeup for next year’s January 30-31 event.

“It is fair to say that despite an enormous amount of work on restructuring, repositioning and repricing, sales are a little slower than we would have liked,” Tew said.

“We’re still positive we’ll end up with a reasonable crowd, and clearly subject to fitness and appropriateness we would hope one or two of our star XVs players would be playing in Wellington, which would certainly help.”

Tew rejected a suggestion they had missed a marketing opportunity around high-profile players such as Sonny Bill Williams, saying they would not advertise something they could not guarantee delivering.

“Right now the reintroduction of those players into sevens has not yet been finalised. Titch [coach Gordon Tietjens] wants to be absolutely sure they are ready to play in the tournament before we throw them into it.”

But Tew did concede that the time might have arrived to examine whether Wellington remained the long-term home for the international sevens tournament.

“Clearly everything is subject to review,” he said.

“I think Wellington as a city has a little bit of a challenge on its hands. It has a lot of stuff available to its citizens and they’re not supporting it to a level any of us would like. If you had the same conversation with the guys running the Phoenix they would give you the same feedback.”

It’s the first time Tew has offered anything other than emphatic endorsement of Wellington’s suitability as home of the sevens, and might be an indication the event is nearing the end of its life-span in the city.

Tew also admitted to “concerns” around the start of the New Zealand men’s team in the world series, with Tietjens’ men lying seventh after the first two tournaments after failures in both Dubai and Cape Town.

“It is concerning but we’ve got an incredibly experienced coaching and management team and we’ve got some players to inject into the environment when that time is right,” he said.

“There’s no panic in our camp. It’s a disappointing start clearly but it’s not for want of trying.”

The NZR boss also rejected player welfare concerns around the injury toll being suffered by Tietjens’ squad through the first two events.

“They’ve largely been contact injuries incurred playing a game that’s physical at the beginning of a series. We’re constantly looking at that but I don’t think it’s an issue for the current spate of injuries,” he said.

But given the early results, the strides being made by other nations and the fact that only Williams and Liam Messam out of the All Blacks squad have committed to the Rio campaign, there must be concerns about the strength of the squad Tietjens will take to the Games.

Tew conceded not as many All Blacks had put their hands up for Rio as they would have preferred.

“We offered the athletes a choice and they’ve made their choices. I’ve spoken to a number of guys we would have preferred to have given the Olympics a crack, and they all found it a very, very difficult decision to make.

“But at this stage they still see the opportunity to secure an All Black jersey as more important to them than the chance to go to the Olympics if selected.

“I don’t know there’s much more we can do. We are unable to force people to do anything, and they’re all capable of making their own decisions.

“Would we have preferred to have two or three [more] star XVs players saying yes to Rio? Yes we would. But we haven’t. My personal view is once they’ve seen rugby at the Olympics and they’ve talked to some players who went there will be a lot more interest in it in 2019 than there was in 2016.”

Meanwhile, Tew conceded the lack of a coach for Japan’s team remained the biggest issue ahead of the latest wave of Super Rugby expansion.

“Their player roster is looking better, their commercial programme is good, they’ve got a venue sorted out, they’ve named their team and got a jersey, but they haven’t got a coach and that’s the most pressing problem.

“We’re told it will be resolved before Christmas, and clearly that’s already too late. We’re not hiding from it.”.

SOURCE: STUFF NZ/PACNEWS

40) South Africa wins own tournament

World Rugby
Tuesday, December 15, 2015

SOUTH Africa beat Argentina to lift the inaugural HSBC Cape Town Sevens and a third successive Cup victory on home soil, having won the 2013 and 2014 Port Elizabeth Sevens.

In the final the Blitzboks came from 7-0 behind to win 29-14 thanks to tries from Rosko Specman (2), Seabelo Senatla (2) and Ryno Benjamin against a Los Pumas side appearing in their first final since the 2009 USA Sevens in San Diego. Earlier, Juan de Jongh, Specman and Philip Snyman scored for Neil Powell’s side in their 21-12 semi-final win over France.

It was an enthralling day of sevens to end the weekend where 106,202 fans turned out over the two days at the Cape Town Stadium, with the entertainment hitting the heights many suggested were last seen at the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai.

France, who were 11th overall last season, finished third beating Kenya 28-26 with a last-minute try and conversion from Julien Candelon and Terry Bouhraoua while none of the Dubai Sevens Cup semi-finalists made it to the same stage a week later.

In the quarter-finals France beat Fiji, South Africa proved too strong for Australia and Argentina defeated New Zealand for only the sixth time and first since 2006, with a dramatic sudden-death extra-time drop-goal penalty from Bautista Ezcurra. Mike Friday suffered defeat to his old side as two tries apiece from Collins Injera and Willy Ambaka were enough for Kenya to beat USA 26-10.

There was similar entertainment in the semi-finals as Frank Wanyama set up a nailbiting finish in Kenya’s defeat to Argentina. Having scored out wide to bring the scores to 24-22, Biko Adema had a chance to take the match to extra time but his conversion hit the post for Los Pumas to survive by the skin of their teeth.

Vatemo Ravouvou scored twice for Ben Ryan’s side in a 29-19 victory over USA to win the Plate having earlier been defeat by France, only the fourth time in history and first since 2012, in the Cup quarter-finals with Sacha Valleau socring to clinch a 17-14 win.

Scotland won all three of their matches on day two of the HSBC Cape Town Sevens, beating Samoa, Wales and then England to win the Bowl at the Cape Town Stadium and claim eight series points. With one eye on the Olympics Scotland players would have wanted to impress England coach Simon Amor, who is also involved with the Team GB coaching set up, and they did just that with a 19-0 win.

“Can’t really beat it,” said captain Scott Wight. “Getting England and turning them over is great. We’ve reaped the benefits of better defence this week. The boys attitude in the tackle has been magnificent.”

Samoa, who almost topped the France and New Zealand pool on day one, ended the HSBC Cape Town Sevens on a high with a 40-5 win over Russia to lift the Shield. “We’ve finished on the front foot,” said coach Damian McGrath. “I’m pleased with the performances, if not the results. We are heading in the right direction and this weekend has shown anyone can beat anyone.”

w: www.voiceofmelanesia.com

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