Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1092 ( Saturday 15 April 2017 )


PRESS RELEASE (13th April 2017)

Government takes responsibility for formalising unregistered National Housing Corporation leases

Last week, on 4th April, an agreement was signed between the National Housing Corporation (NHC) and the Ministry of Lands for the Government to take over responsibility for issuing leases to NHC clients already residing on about 172 unregistered plots in Freshwater area.

This a NHC Board resolution and a Council of Ministers decision to transfer all of the NHC’s remaining interest in this land back to the Government, and for the Government through the Department of Lands to then facilitate issuing of leases to those people living on the plots concerned who have made various levels of payments for the plots to the NHC but have not yet been given proper leases.  The issuing of leases will necessarily involve the Department reviewing the outstanding debts of  individual debtors and negotiating and restructuring the debt and converting the agreed debt into leases.  The NHC will continue to assist the Department to regularise the legal status of those who may have occupied some or all of the 172 plots of land that are unregistered.

The agreement signed this week is the latest in a series of steps the current Minister of Lands and Board of Directors have taken to try and resolve the problems of the NHC.  The NHC was established by an act of Parliament in 1986 for the purposes of promoting and providing cost housing to the people of Vanuatu.  On 6 July 1990, lease title number 11/OG31/007 (the Head Lease) in what is now known as Freshwater in Port Vila was registered between the Minister of Lands as lessor of state land and the National Housing Corporation as the lessee.  On 16 January 1995, the Head Lease was surrendered and new lease titles 11/OG31/041 and 11/OH34/007 were created and registered in favour of the NHC as the proprietor.  These lease titles were then subdivided and consequently derivative leases were created and registered also in favor of the NHC.  The intention and objective of the NHC with respect to the subdivision was to sell the unregistered land plots and once paid, the NHC would then transfer and register the plots to the respective purchasers.

However, since its inception, the NHC has experienced continuous difficulty in its operations.  The principal reason for these difficulties has been ongoing chronic political interference resulting in mismanagement and large-scale misappropriation.  The failure of the Government to properly fund the NHC has also been a factor.

In 2013, upon becoming Minister of Lands, Ralph Regenvanu requested the then-Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil to transfer responsibility for the NHC from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (where it had always been) to the the Ministry of Lands.  The Minister then appointed a new Board chaired by Mr John Salong.  In 2015, the first independent financial audit of the NHC in over 15 years was completed, covering the period up to the end of 2012.  The audit found that the NHC had liabilities in excess of 60 million vatu and was not only incapable of paying its debts but also incapable of simply meeting its day-to-day running costs.  In the period from 2013 to 2015 a number of cost-cutting measures were implemented by the Board, including relocating the NHC office from the Olympic Building in downtown Port Vila to Matua Park in Freshwater.  In 2016, the Government provided a supplementary budget of just over VT14 million to assist the NHC to retire all its staff, and by the end of 2016 the daily running costs of the NHC had been reduced to zero.

With this agreement signed last week, a significant portion of NHC debt relating to the remaining unregistered plots of land in Freshwater has now been transferred to the Government.  There remain about 172 unregistered plots which are currently occupied where the occupants have either made no payments at all to the NHC, made some payments or made all required payments but the land is yet to be transferred and registered in their name.  The Government is now establishing a framework for facilitating the acquisition, management, and regularisation of the 172 plots of land to be registered.  Such a framework will probably include the Government waiving the current and accrued land rents from the 172 plots of land owed by the NHC.  The Department of Lands hopes to have the majority of the leases issued by the middle of this year.

In related news, the World Bank is now assisting the Government to develop a National Housing Policy which will include an assessment of the how the Government can be an actor in the land and housing market and what role, if any, the NHC will play in this.  Last week, Minister Regenvanu made an official trip to New Caledonia in which he had discussions with the two principal agencies undertaking development of new suburbs and townships in the territory, SECAL (Société d’Equipement de la Nouvelle-Calédonie) and SIC (Société Immobilière Calédonienne).  Both organisations use public-private partnership models to build new towns and subdivisions, including the largest new township development in the whole of France, Dumbea Sur Mer, just outside Noumea.  The Minister also held discussions with the President of the Government of New Caledonia, Philippe Germain, on how his government can assist Vanuatu to develop a similar agency in Vanuatu.  Such assistance is now possible through the inclusion of a section in the Cooperation Agreement signed between the governments of Vanuatu and New Caledonia last month in Port Vila which states that “the Government of New Caledonia will help the Government of Vanuatu to create a dedicated planning and housing entity, which would include related operations like water supply and sanitation, road infrastructure, and social housing”.

The Ministry of Lands is also finalizing amendments to a number of land laws to implement a new national subdivision policy, the purpose of which will be to regulate the provision of subdivision developments in Vanuatu and in particular to ensure that the creation of subdivisions results in environmentally and socially sustainable development and an improved quality of life for residents with suitable standards of amenity, access, health and safety.  The amendments are scheduled to go before Parliament in the June session and will be an important element in providing for the future development of subdivisions and townships throughout Vanuatu.

Media –

Find attached press release.

Feel free to email me with any questions or to arrange an interview.Ralph Regenvanu : [email protected]

1b ) New Book – Making Mala

Dear colleagues,

My new book Making Mala: Malaita in Solomon Islands, 1870s-1930s is now available through ANU Press. There is a free digital down load, or paper copies cost $68. Its long, over 500 pages, with many photos and maps, and a substantial index.  And it only took 25 years to research and write, not a process favoured in modern universities!

Malaita in Solomon Islands, 1870s–1930s

Authored by:

Clive Moore

ISBN (print): 9781760460976

ISBN (online): 9781760460983

Publication date: April 2017

Imprint: ANU Press



Pacific Series

Malaita is one of the major islands in the Solomons Archipelago and has the largest population in the Solomon Islands nation. Its people have an undeserved reputation for conservatism and aggression. Making Mala argues that in essence Malaitans are no different from other Solomon Islanders, and that their dominance, both in numbers and their place in the modern nation, can be explained through their recent history.

A grounding theme of the book is its argument that, far than being conservative, Malaitan religions and cultures have always been adaptable and have proved remarkably flexible in accommodating change. This has been the secret of Malaitan success.

Malaitans rocked the foundations of the British protectorate during the protonationalist Maasina Rule movement in the 1940s and the early 1950s, have heavily engaged in internal migration, particularly to urban areas, and were central to the ‘Tension Years’ between 1998 and 2003. Making Mala reassesses Malaita’s history, demolishes undeserved tropes and uses historical and cultural analyses to explain Malaitans’ place in the Solomon Islands nation today.

2) Museum book launch

Vishaal Kumar
Saturday, April 15, 2017-Fijitimes

A BOOK to promote Fijian arts and culture was launched at the Fiji Museum earlier in the week.

Professor Steven Hopper, the director of the Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Africa, Oceania launched the book titled Fiji: Art and Life in the Pacific.

The book was published in relation to a major exhibition of Fijian art and objects held at the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich, United Kingdom, over the past four months.

The Fiji Museum was able to loan out 21 objects to this exhibition with most of them being displayed after some time.

Prof Hopper said the book took him nearly four years to compile and it was divided into two parts.

“The first part is based on the history of Fiji and the second part is based on the catalogue of the whole exhibition in United Kingdom. I started to gather content for this book from 2012,” Prof Hopper said. “In England, there are many historical items from Fiji which were given to British visitors, travellers, officers over the years nearly 200 years ago and these are kept in many museums there.”

The idea of compiling the book started when the academic was a little boy.

“My grandfather had a hobby of collecting things from the Pacific even though he didn’t visit the region. He was finding things in England that were bought by travellers and voyages,” Prof Hopper said.

The book is available on sale at the museum with the soft back costing $32 and hardback $49.


3) Cook Islands Democratic Party Selects New Leader

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 04/13/2017 – 13:25

Tina Browne replaces William “Smiley” Heather with overwhelming support

By Cameron Scott

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, April 13, 2017) – Rarotonga lawyer Tina Browne is the new president of the Democratic Party.

Browne was elected to the position yesterday on the final day of the Demo Party’s annual conference.

She replaces William “Smiley” Heather.

While there was no official word on the leadership change before CI News went to print, the election result was widely predicted in the days leading up to the conference.

A media statement released late yesterday afternoon said Browne, had been elected with a clear majority and would bring a wealth of energy, knowledge and experience to the role.

“In her speech to the delegates, Browne quoted the words of (former US president) Barack Obama and urged the delegates and supporters to, ‘be the change you want to make’, the statement said.

Browne said she was humbled by the confidence shown in her by her Democratic Party colleagues and excited by the opportunity to work with the party’s team to create a new future for all Cook Islanders.

“I wish to acknowledge the work done by the outgoing leader, Smiley Heather, who is a dedicated advocate for his people and such a good friend to the party.”

It is understood a bid by Opposition parliamentary leader Rose Brown to stand for the position was rejected on the grounds that she had missed the cut-off date for candidates to declare their interest.

“It was put to the members, but they decided that she was too late,” a party spokesman said.

Sean Willis and Tupou Faireka were appointed co-presidents after a successful motion was passed to alter the party constitution to allow for the change. They will be supported by vice-presidents George Hosking, Sir Fred Goodwin and Henrica Wilson Marona.

Piltz Napa was elected treasurer, Tua Dyer was chosen as auditor and Eddie Drollett was returned as secretary-general.

A motion was also passed to recognise the work of party stalwarts by appointing three patrons: Iaveta Short, Harmon Pou and Ngamau Munokoa (Aunty Mau).

“The Democratic Party wishes to thank all participants and to congratulate all new appointees,” the statement said.

Cook Islands News

4) Government Of Samoa In Negotiations With Tokelau, Tuvalu Over Submarine Cable Connections

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 04/13/2017 – 14:23

More remote countries could be connected via hub in Samoa

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, April 14, 2017) – The government has initiated negotiations with Tokelau and Tuvalu over the possibility of connecting the three countries by submarine cable.

The discussion was held during the Pacific Islands Telecommunications Association (P.I.T.A) 2017 with Samoa’s delegation being led by the Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i.

It was a busy time for regional submarine cable connectivity negotiations, in addition to the announcement of the Manatua Cable consortium between French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Niue and Samoa.

But P.I.T.A 2017 was even more significant as it saw the strengthening of ties between Samoa, Tokelau and Tuvalu with the commencement of discussions to connect the three countries by submarine cable.

The goal is to look at ways to improve I.C.T in general for the three countries.

Minister Afamasaga said the discussions are important for Samoa.

“These discussions have been a positive step forward in strengthening Samoa’s ties with our neighboring islands to create a real and tangible regional partnership,” he said.

“It is expected that a standalone Tokelau-Tuvalu submarine cable connecting to Samoa whereby international connectivity will be provided via the Tui-Samoa cable system linking Samoa to Suva Fiji then onwards to U.S.A or NZ/Australia.

“I believe it is the Polynesian Leaders Group (P.L.G) vision to connect all the Polynesian islands in order to create economic and social development for our people”

Part of Samoa’s presentation was to provide a substantive update on the progress of the Tui Samoa cable.

“The government of Samoa is pleased to advise that the Tui-Samoa project is on track, with work already underway at the beach manholes and Cable Landing Stations in both Upolu and Savai’i,” said Afamasaga.

“Another important milestone was the commencement of the marine route survey for the 1,470 km Tui-Samoa Cable with, the survey to be completed by early May 2017.”

Samoa Observer

5) Emmanuel Macron outlines Tahiti policies

5:08 pm GMT+12, 12/04/2017, French Polynesia

A top candidate for the French presidency Emmanuel Macron has released policies for French Polynesia where none of the main parties endorse his bid to succeed Francois Hollande.

His team in Tahiti has released recommendations, saying Macron would double the funds for social housing and for organisations fighting domestic violence.

It has called for measures to curb the high cost of living and maintaining the index for French public servants whose Tahiti salaries were about double the pay in France.

The plan called for a scheme to be established which allows those who lose their jobs to be retrained for locally available work.

It suggested letting the French High Commission set bank charges at a level seen in France and for Paris to assume key responsibility for health care and to pay in full for the medical costs incurred by those suffering from radiation-induced illnesses.

Polls said Macron was likely to make the run-off election in May where he was projected to defeat Marine Le Pen.



6) Nauru Airlines secures FACP for Guam-Nauru flights

By Online Editor
10:16 pm GMT+12, 13/04/2017, Nauru
Nauru Airlines is wholly owned by the government of Nauru, but due to regulatory issues its fleet of five B733s is registered and based in Brisbane, Australia. It currently serves the Pacific Island destinations of Nauru, Honiara, Nadi, Tarawa, Majuro, and Pohnpei, as well as Brisbane in Australia.PACNEWS/

7) Marshall Islands asks 9th Circ. to revive nuclear treaty suit
10:20 pm GMT+12, 13/04/2017, Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands has asked the Ninth Circuit to revive its case alleging the U.S. has flouted legal obligations under a nuclear disarmament treaty, saying at a hearing Wednesday that as a party to the agreement, the Pacific nation has standing to sue over the United States’ failure to “show up” to negotiations.

Laurie Ashton, an attorney for the Pacific nation, asked the panel to reverse U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White’s finding that only the executive branch — not the judiciary — had the power to enforce the treaty, saying the case was about “the nature and scope of the legal obligation to pursue negotiations in good faith under Article 6 of Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

She also said Judge White erred in ruling the Marshall Islands had no standing to sue the U.S. under the 1968 international Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, saying the country was a signatory to the treaty and all signatories have the right to see its promise of “negotiations in good faith” enforced.

The panel wanted to know what specific obligation was created by the vaguely worded treaty. Judge Jay Bybee asked whether the words “undertakes to pursue” didn’t temper the binding nature of the negotiation provision.

Judge Susan Oki Mollway wanted to know what discovery might uncover in terms of the intent of the treaty should the case survive the motion-to-dismiss phase. Judge M. Margaret McKeown asked what an injunction would even look like, suggesting, “Dear Secretary Tillerson, you must attend a meeting.”

Ashton said that the Serbian genocide case before the International Court of Justice found the word “undertakes” is commonly used in treaties and is considered a “binding promise.” As for the injunction, she said the scope was up to the court to determine, but she suggested one objective obligation could attend negotiations.

“To comply with your obligation to the treaty, you have to show up, and the U.S. has never once shown up in 70 years,” she said. “Approximately every year, there’s a vote in the U.N. on whether to begin negotiations on nuclear disarmament pursuant to this treaty. Every year, the U.S. votes no, does not attend those negotiations and puts out a statement saying, ‘We’re not going to accept anything that happens in those negotiations.’ Once you define the duty as at least saying, ‘You have to show up’ — which has never happened — then you can decide the scope of the injunctive relief.”

She added that an injunction need not tell the executive how to vote, or what to say at negotiations, but only require that the U.S. participate in these annual meetings.

But Department of Justice attorney Sushma Soni said the Marshall Islands, as a foreign sovereign, didn’t have the jurisdiction to sue the U.S. in a domestic court for a violation of international law. She said while the treaty was legally binding, the Marshall Islands were seeking “extraordinary relief,” and a court trying to compel the executive branch to negotiate flouted “100 years of Supreme Court precedent” finding treaty disputes between nations should be solved via international remedies “not by suing each other in their domestic courts.”

She specifically cited the high court’s 2008 Medellin v. Texas decision, which she called “the most full reasoned explanation of how you determine a treaty is self-executing,” and therefore valid under domestic law.

“What the court said was if it is not self-executing treaty, then it does not have domestic legal effect,” she said. “And the way you determine this is you look first and foremost at the intent of the president and Senate, because self-executing versus non-self-executing — this is a domestic law concept, not an international law concept.”

The standing issue stems from the fact that the Marshall Islands haven’t pled a cause of action. Soni used that to argue against Ashton’s contention that Medellin involved a third party invoking a treaty, whereas this case involved two treaty signatories. Soni said the country still hadn’t relied on a statute that gave it the right to plead in federal court.

“Even if this treaty were self-executing, it wouldn’t solve the standing and political question problems those apply regardless,” she said. “They claim they can come into this court directly on the treaty, but there is no precedent for that.”

This is not the first time the island nation has sued the U.S. over its nuclear arsenal. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear claims of Marshall Island residents who said the U.S. still owed $1 billion to compensate for property taken for nuclear weapons testing there in the 1940s and 1950s.

The government is represented by Anthony Joseph Coppolino, Douglas Neal Letter, Sushma Soni and Eric Womack of the Department of Justice.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands is represented by Laurie Ashton, Juli E. Farris, Gary A. Gotto and Lynn Lincoln Sarko of Keller Rohrback LLP.

The case is the Republic of the Marshall Islands v. U.S.A. et al., case number 15-15636, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.



8) Newcrest imas baim 3.5 billion kina oa mipela bai pasim Lihir Airport

Updated 13 April 2017, 16:04 AEST
Sam Seke

Ol papa blong graun we Lihir Airport i stap longen long New Ireland Province long Papua New Guinea i laik long Newcrest Mining Limited i baim ol 3.5 billion kina long kompensasen long yus blong airport.

Media Ofisa blong Nimarmar Local Level gavman long Lihir ailan, Tony Sapan i tok ol papa graun i askim dispela moni long wanem Lihir Gold mine we Newcrest i papa longen, ibin yusim nating dispela peles balus insait moa long 21 years na ino baim ol wanpela moni.

Mr Sapan itok ol papa graun blong Lihir Airport i tok lukaut olsem, ol bai pasim airport long Sarere sapos ol ino kisim wanpela gutpela bekim ikam long kampani tumora.

Em i tok ol bai putim lif blongen na planim wanpela kain plant ol i kolim Gorgor, or Gogora ol i kolim long sampela hap blong Solomon Islands, em long tabuim wanpela i go insait long hap blong airport long sait long kastom.ABC

9) Sampela Vanuatu Oposisan memba i joinim gavman

Postim 12 April 2017, 15:15 AEST
Sam Seke

Coalition gavman blong Praim Minista Charlot Salwai long Vanuatu i nau kamap strong moa bihain sampela Memba blong Palamen i lusim Oposisan na igo joinim gavman long aste.

Officer blong Praim Minista i tok long moning tripela memba blong Vanuatu Rural Development Party long Oposisan oli go joinim Leaders Party we i stap insait long gavman.

Public Relations Officer, Hilaire Bule i tok long haf past two long aftanun, tupela moa memba long Vanuatu National Party i tokaut tupela i lusim Oposisan na go joinim gavman.

Na bihain, em i tok 4 pela moa memba blong Oposisan i bringim ol kastom mat na i givim Praim Minista Salwai, na joinim gavman blongen.

Mr Bule i tok olgeta memba ia i laik joinim gavman long wanem oli lukim gavman i wok long kamapim planti gutpela wok long divelopim kantri, na i laik lukim stabiliti long sait long gavman.

Long 52-memba parliament blong Vanuatu, Mr Bule i tok Oposisan i nau gat samting olsem 7 pela memba tasol.ABC

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11d) Australian children in detention as Peter Dutton warns their Fijian parents will be deported

10:18 pm GMT+12, 13/04/2017, Australia

Two Australian children are spending Easter under guard as Immigration Department officials work to deport their Fijian parents.

The Prasad family, from Eastlakes in Sydney’s south, were taken from their home on Monday. Father Jitend Prasad was originally placed in Villawood detention centre and mother Joytika put under round-the-clock guard with her three children in an apartment in Parramatta.

Despite two of their children being born in Australia, a Fijian family has been taken into detention and Immigration minister Peter Dutton says they’ll he deported.

The Prasads, ethnic Indians, have lost numerous appeals for protection from the Australian government. They said they had been threatened by indigenous Fijians during the 2000 military coup and would be persecuted again if forced to return to village life in Fiji without land or income.

The case is unusual because the couple have two Australian-born children, Jasmita, 15, and her brother Jasneel, 12, who are full Australian citizens and cannot be forced to leave the country, even if their parents are deported.

Lawyers for the family are appealing to the Federal Magistrates Court, arguing the Refugee Review Tribunal did not take into sufficient consideration the rights of the Australian children to remain among family.

The Human Rights Commission is examining the case, but Immigration Minister Peter Dutton warned on Thursday the Prasads would be deported “sooner not later”.

“Those people have been taken into immigration detention and they are awaiting deportation now,” Mr Dutton told 2GB.

“People are entitled to their fair hearing, their fair day in court, but the Australian taxpayers are not going to be taken for mugs and that’s why we have increased dramatically the number of deportations. We aren’t going to pay for their endless legal roundabouts.

“People work hard to pay their taxes. They don’t expect the money to be wasted on cases where there’s no valid reason to stay, and they are only stalling tactics [being] applied. This still has a way to go but they have been taken into immigration detention and they can expect to be deported sooner than later.”

The Prasads say they have not received any welfare since claiming asylum and even their Australian-born children have not been allowed into the Medicare system.



12) New Zealand cleans up after Cyclone Cook

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The worst of Cyclone Cook may be over, but there is a huge clean-up job ahead in the coming months, says the Civil Defence.

The storm brought havoc to many parts of the North Island in New Zealand, particularly on the east coast, leaving fallen trees and power lines, slips, and road closures in its wake. It was clear people had listened to advice and made sure they were prepared, director of Civil Defence and Emergency Management Sarah Stuart-Black said.

But with power out in many parts, and many roads closed, Civil Defence staff were still working to assess the damage.

“The extent of damage across affected regions, in particular in the Bay of Plenty, will not be known until aerial assessments have taken place,” she said. “Aircrafts are already in the air to get an initial idea of the extent of the damage across the bay.”

All of the government agencies involved would be providing support to badly-affected communities in the weeks and months ahead.

“This is not over for those residents in Whakatane, Edgecumbe and those surrounding areas,” she said. “Those families and that community have been severely impacted.

“There’s a huge clean-up job ahead and that will take a long time,this is the beginning of that recovery effort,” she said.

Ms Stuart-Black warned that it was still a “risky time” and people should be cautious over the next few days.

People should avoid damaged roads but if they must travel they should be prepared for challenging conditions, including debris, she said.

She also advised people to be wary of delayed flooding as rain that fell in catchment areas might not raise water levels until later.

Damaged buildings should be checked carefully, including windows, walls, doors, ceilings and roofs, she said.

The storm triggered evacuations in low-lying coastal areas of Bay of Plenty and the east coast of Coromandel yesterday.

The storm is technically no longer a tropical cyclone, but MetService has continued to refer to it as Cyclone Cook to reflect its intensity.

In Christchurch, the Heathcote River has overflowed its banks after 35 millimetres of rain hit the area as the weather passed through.

Christchurch City Council said contractors were working to clear grates and check pumps, and were monitoring drains.

The council said it was possible the rain may cause ash and soil from the fire-damaged Port Hills to get into waterways, particularly in Heathcote.

Meteorologist Chris Noble said the cyclone tracked 20-30 km further east than projected, although still within the forecast route and that probably spared the rest of the North Island.

“The worst of the weather was in those eastern parts of Bay of Plenty, out through Gisborne and down through Hawke’s Bay,” he said.

“Had the system tracked a little bit further west I think it would have been a very different story for the likes of central and western parts of the North Island, including Auckland and Wellington.”

13) Boys, Māori and Pacific kids gain in NZ National Certificate of Educational Achievement
5:10 pm GMT+12, 12/04/2017, New Zealand

Boys, Māori and Pacific students have all gained faster than average in the latest results for the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA).

Final results of the 2016 assessments, released today by  New Zealand Education Minister Hekia Parata, show the proportion of students achieving NCEA has risen steadily in every year since 2011, when the Government set a target of 80 per cent of 18-year-olds having NCEA Level 2 by this year.

But the gains have been biggest for the three groups that had the lowest achievement rates when the Government took office in 2008: boys, Māori and Pacific students.

Boys’ Level 2 achievement rates in year 12 have risen by almost 15 per cent, from 60.3 per cent in 2008 to 75 per cent in 2016, while girls’ pass rates rose by 11 per cent, from 70.5 per cent to 81.7 per cent.

The gains have been much more dramatic for Māori and Pacific students: up 23 per cent and 29 per cent respectively, compared with a 10 per cent gain for European students and a 13 per cent gain for Asians.

Both Māori and Pacific Level 2 achievement rates in Year 12 have risen from just over half in 2008 to three-quarters in 2016, and are now only slightly behind the European rate of 84 per cent.

Parata said her Government had “made it our priority to significantly lift NCEA achievement, in particular for those groups the system was not paying attention to”.

She said she was also pleased that achievement rates continued to increase in 2016 despite the disruption of the Kaikoura earthquake, which occurred just as the end-of-year exams were starting.

Critics say schools have achieved higher achievement rates partly by directing Māori and Pacific students into “easier” subjects.

However this has not been done with the University Entrance (UE) exams, which are normally sat by Year 13 students alongside NCEA Level 3.

The UE exams were changed in 2014, causing a sudden drop in the UE achievement rate from 51 per cent of Year 13 students in 2013 to 45.5 per cent in 2014.

The UE achievement rate has still only partially recovered to 48.6 per cent in 2015 and 49.2 per cent in 2016.

Boys have fared worse, with UE achievement rates down 2.2 per cent since 2013 to 42.5 per cent last year, while girls’ achievement rates have dropped only 1.5 per cent to 55.3 per cent.

Māori UE achievement is still 2.8 per cent below 2013 levels, at 31.4 per cent, and the Pacific rate is down 4.2 per cent to 30.7 per cent, while the European rate has slipped only 1.3 per cent to 57.8 per cent.

The Asian UE achievement rate is the highest, at 66.5 per cent, and is now 0.3 per cent higher than in 2013 before the exam was toughened.

Labour education spokesman Chris Hipkins said the NCEA results should be celebrated.

“Every Government since the 1990s has been working towards that,” he said.

He said school careers advice now needed to be strengthened from Year 9 so that students understood the NCEA subjects they needed to take to get into the tertiary education, and eventually the jobs, that they wanted.



14) Solomon Islands PM launches National Sustainable Development Board of PIDF

5:12 pm GMT+12, 12/04/2017, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has launched the Solomon Islands National Sustainable Development Board (NSDB) of the Pacific Islands Development Forum.

The National Development Committee of the PIDF in Solomon Islands will perform the role of NSDB and its membership includes representatives of the Government, Private Sector and Civil Society.

The terms of Reference of the NSDB include:

Serving as the national/local focal point and repository of information on all PIDF matters at the national level;

*Promoting the establishment of multi-stakeholder and inclusive processes at the national level;
*Coordinating the implementation of the decisions of the PIDF at the national level;
*Advocating and leading the vision and purposes of the PIDF at the national level; and
*Reporting to the Members Representative Council.

Speaking at the launching ceremony which coincided with the closing of the workshop on the establishment of the NSDB, Prime Minister Sogavare said the PIDF is a space for catalysing, mobilising and mainstreaming action in support of sustainable development through a green economy in Pacific Island countries through a coalition of Pacific governments, civil society and private sector.

He said this coalition is bound by ‘our’ goals of enhancing the welfare and prosperity of pacific peoples.

The Prime Minister said in this connection, Solomon Islands was honoured to host the fourth Summit of PIDF Leaders in Honiara last year which saw him take over the helm of the organisation from his Fiji counterpart, Prime Minister Hon Frank Bainimarama.

He said in August this year, Honiara will again play host to the 5th Summit of PIDF Leaders and for the time the members’ representative Council.

“The conference is the apex decision-making body of the PIDF and it discusses matters of common concern to the pacific in the area of sustainable development and harmonisation of the general policy of the PIDF,” Prime Minister Sogavare said.

On that note, the Prime Minister said he cannot overstate the importance of the consultations and workshop for the establishment of the NSDB.

He said as representatives of the Government, Private Sectors and Civil Society in Solomon Islands, the National Sustainable Development Committee of Solomon Islands participation in the workshop helped to identify and shape the NSDB of Solomon Islands.

“This is our strength to the success of the PIDF as we build a multi-stakeholder National Sustainable Development Board in Solomon Islands that would enable and assist the PIDF Secretariat to achieve our sustainable development objectives at the national level,” the Prime Minister added.

Prime Minister Sogavare said he had been informed that the consultations and workshop on the establishment of the NSDB of Solomon Islands were a success and that it covered the PIDF Climate Change Treaty, Climate Change Road Map, Strategic Plan 2017-2020 and of course the establishment of the NSDB.

“These were issues that in the past were only discussed at the Government level. Consistent with the vision of the PIDF Leaders, today we have representatives from the Government, Private Sectors and Civil Society sitting together in the same room discussing the same issues.

“The need to enhance coherence at both the policy and operational levels is essential to allow for the effective implementation of our development goals and targets. Tangible impacts on the ground that will contribute towards improving the lives and livelihoods of our people should be the ultimate objective that our collective successes must be measured against.”

Prime Minister Sogavare also took the opportunity to thank the Deputy Secretary General of the PIDF, Peni Lomaloma for committing his time and resources to ensuring the establishment of the NSDB of Solomon Islands.

On that note, he challenged the members of the Interim National Sustainable Development Board to build solid connections and carry the good work of the PIDF onwards.

“PIDF is a baby that sits around adult regional organisations. Your duty is to nurse the baby, feed the baby as it grows to catalyse, mobilise and mainstream sustainable development through green and blue economy in the Pacific islands region.”.


15) Greenpeace’s Head of Pacific Net slams Australia for selling out its Pacific neighbours

10:19 pm GMT+12, 12/04/2017, Australia

“Australia – you are either with the coal industry, or with the Pacific”, said Greenpeace’s Head of Pacific Net Matisse Walkden-Brown in response to this week’s lobby trip by Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to meet the CEO of the company behind the proposed Carmichael megamine, Gautam Adani.

“This week, Australia has truly shown its tireless commitment to selling out Pacific islanders. If the Carmichael coal mine goes ahead, it would supply 2.3bn tonnes of coal to be burnt over the next 60 years, fuelling catastrophic climate change.

“Typically, in an attempt to remain being seen as a friend to the Pacific, and continue fending off Chinese advances, Australia’s Ambassador for Climate Change, Patrick Suckling, came to Fiji in January, with a completely opposing message.

Earlier this year, Suckling said , “The purpose of my visit here is to talk to the Government and the business community on how Australia and Fiji can strongly work together on the damaging impacts of climate change.”

“Both countries take climate change very seriously. It is a serious concern to the region, and part of Australia’s interest in climate change is that we support and work with the Pacific Island nations in terms of meeting the challenges of climate change,” he said.

“The events this week prove once again that Australia’s climate promises to the Pacific are empty sweet nothings. While Australia may claim to consider climate change ‘a serious concern to the region’, they still have plans to double their coal exports in the next 10 years (despite already having a larger share of the seaborne coal market than Saudi Arabia has of the world oil market), which will further fuel catastrophic climate change,” Walkden-Brown says.

“Not content with trampling the rights of Pacific islanders by lobbying for more coal as climate change impacts intensify, PM Turnbull also sold out Australia’s Indigenous people this week, claiming that native title laws “will be fixed” to let the mine go ahead.

“However, in the true Pacific spirit, we remain hopeful that Australia will change their course and join us. Join us in a world moving toward 100% renewable energy. A world that recognises that gains in technology, science, medicine, and other fields that give people a chance at a higher standard of living, are now possible using 100% clean energy.

“A world that accepts that developed and developing countries alike must pave the way, instead of propping up out-dated fossil fuel industries. A world that does not allow for politicised speeches to be dressed up as solutions. A world that understands climate finance is not a bargaining chip to be used against the vulnerable and unfairly affected. A world that knows words, promises, deals and temporary financial gains, cannot absorb carbon. A world that needs fewer coal mines,not more….



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17) EU seeks more alliance on common challenges

10:22 pm GMT+12, 13/04/2017, Fiji

The European Union (EU) is opening up strategic alliances with other regions and groups, apart from the partnership through the Cotonou Agreement with Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group.

This shift is spelt out in the joint Communication to the European Parliament and Commission by the EU’s Higher Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini in November last year, titled, ‘a renewed partnership with the ACP countries.’

“The partnership should enable the EU and its partners to join forces more effectively to drive forward a common agenda in global and multilateral fora.

This partnership, was barely exploited in its almost 20 year relations with 79 member countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group.

The EU wants more co-operation with the ACP countries in the international arena where a new partnership can provide a substantial added value.

“The basis for stronger action is a renewed commitment to promote rules – based effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core. The partnership should support global governance by seeking to reform, implement, and develop multilateral institutions, agreements, and norms.

In the report, the EU’s highest ranking diplomat is demanding that such a commitment to global governance must translate into increased dialogue and effective cooperation within international fora (including UN Security Council, UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Commission and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change), as well as in the determination to reform the UN, including the Security Council.

Mogherini singled out the only successful partnership between the EU and ACP was through the high ambition coalition process that paved the way at COP21 for the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. The alliance representing more than 100 countries, included 79 ACP countries, the US and all of the EU member states.

“The partnership must actively identify topics where the EU and partner countries have major common interests and could drive forward global action. This should translate into joint action at decision – making moments.

“A process should be defined to identify on a regular basis at the highest political level the common interests, allowing for a timely preparation and coordinated action and voting in the relevant international formats and frameworks, Mogherini advised the EU Parliament and the European Commission.

The EU wants the proposed renewed post 2020 Cotonou partnership with the ACP to focus on areas such as climate change, sustainable development, blue and green economy, protection of biodiversity, global digital economy, fight against illicit financial flows, and the proper functioning of commodity markets.

“The partnership should equally seek to further common interests at the WTO. There is also scope for closer cooperation in the international financial Institutions.”

The EU is also exploring strategic alliances with countries beyond the ACP, in North Africa, among LDCs and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The report is part of the conversation going on now with EU member countries to prepare for negotiations on the successor agreement to the Cotonou Agreement, which starts next year.


18) EPA boss: US should exit Paris climate agreement

10:25 pm GMT+12, 13/04/2017, United States

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) boss Scott Pruitt has said the United States should withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

Speaking to Fox and Friends on Thursday morning, Pruitt said the Paris deal was “something we need to exit, in my opinion. It’s a bad deal for America.”

It is the subject of an internal battle in the Trump administration, with secretary of state Rex Tillerson calling for America to keep a seat at the table. Donald Trump is set to make a decision by the end of May.

Pruitt, whose agency would be responsible for enforcing rules to cut emissions, argued that staying in the deal opened the US up to outside pressure.

Pruitt said: “The people who say that it’s not enforceable, every meeting I’ve had with my counterparts from Germany, Canada and others, the first question they ask me with is: ‘what are you going to do to comply with Paris?’ And so what that means is contracting our economy to serve and really satisfy Europe and China and India. They are polluting far more than we are. We are at pre-1994 levels, with respect to our CO2 emissions.”

Asked by host Brian Kilmeade: “So you tell them, listen we’re not going to do that [risk the economy]?”

Pruitt responded: “That’s exactly right.”

Asked to confirm that Pruitt had told other nations that the US would not subject its economic interests to the Paris accord, an EPA spokesperson told Climate Home: “Administrator Pruitt has been very clear in multiple interviews that he believes Paris has been a bad deal for this country, but has always reaffirmed his belief that it’s important to be engaged in international dialogue, and to represent American interests there.”

The German and Canadian environment agencies have been contacted for comment.

The Paris agreement allows for countries to set their own timelines for emissions reductions, relying on peer pressure and diplomacy to increase ambition over time. There is no system to punish countries that fail to meet their targets.

In 2015 in Paris, the US undertook to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025.

But Pruitt said the deal had been unfair for the US: “America was put last. The previous administration went in to Paris and said that China and India had no obligation until 2030 and America was going to cost itself jobs.”

Developing countries such as China and India, which bear far less responsibility for the carbon already in the atmosphere, argue that they deserve the chance to grow their economies using fossil fuels and that rich countries like the US should cut their emissions earlier.

Climate Action Tracker, an organisation that measures the ambition of countries’ pledges to Paris, ranks all three countries as “medium”.

Pruitt’s comment that China and India have “no obligation” until 2030 is incorrect. Despite both continuing to grow their emissions into the 2020s, their pledges do require immediate policy action in order to begin slowing down and reversing their emissions growth.

He also falsely claimed that Europe, China and India were all “polluting far more than we are”. Only China emits more CO2 than the US. According to tracking data released by the World Resources Institute this week, India’s emissions remain roughly half those from the US and the EU’s emissions are about two thirds. On a per capita basis, the inequality is stark: a US citizen has more than eight times the carbon footprint of an average Indian.

During his confirmation hearing, the former Oklahoma attorney general told the senate that the measurement of human impact on the climate was “subject to continuing debate”. During his time as attorney general, Pruitt was caught lobbying the EPA on behalf of fossil fuel companies who had contributed to his campaigns.


19) ‘Utoikamanu appointed new UN High representative for LDCs and SIDS
10:23 pm GMT+12, 12/04/2017, United States

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today announced the appointment of senior officials as his envoys dealing with prevention of sexual violence in conflict and for protection of children during such crisis, respectively.

He also appointed a new High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States.

For the position of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, the Secretary-General appointed Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu of Tonga. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Tourism of Tonga.

According to statements issued today by the UN chief’s spokesperson, Virginia Gamba of Argentina – currently the head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) on the use of chemicals as weapons in Syria – has been appointed the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.

Similarly, Pramila Patten of Mauritius, who as practicing Barrister at Law served, since 2003, as a Member of the Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, has been designated the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

In the statements,Guterres expressed that he was grateful to the outgoing senior leaders who have served with distinction and true commitment to UN ideals



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21) Popondetta hospital dental staff lack equipment

April 13, 2017The National

DENTAL clinic staff at the Popondetta General Hospital cannot carry out dental procedures such as tooth extractions because there are no proper dental chairs.
Dental therapist Virginia Jawa said the best they could do for patients was to prescribe medication.
The problem began when they were moved from a temporary shelter they had been using and back to where they had been operating before.
“There are a lot of patients to be treated but we haven’t been treating patients for almost two months now because we cannot do the work when things are everywhere, plus the chairs are not fixed,” she said.
“One part of the dental chair is missing and the chair is yet to be fixed.
“They are put in the air-con and all that.” Meanwhile, Jawa called on pastors to go for regular medical check-ups following the death of the hospital chaplain and one other.
“Our chaplain died and the other pastor who came from Port Moresby to conduct the funeral service, after delivering a very powerful message, collapsed and passed away too,” she said.
“All churches must make some kind of awareness to the pastors to go for medical check-up.
“It’s vital to have medical check-ups done.”

22) Social media policy breach probe

Tevita Vuibau
Saturday, April 15, 2017-Fijitimes

THE Ministry of Health says it will look into instances of staff breaching their social media policy in relation to the death of a baby at the Lautoka Hospital this week.

The baby’s death gained national attention after a video surfaced on Facebook of a confrontation between midwives at the Hospital and supposed relatives of the grieving parents.

In a since deleted comment, a person purporting to be the shift supervisor explained the circumstances behind the baby’s death saying that the infant’s umbilical cord was around her neck and she had also passed thick meconium.

“While it’s good to hear that version of facts presented that would actually present a breach of our social media policy,” permanent secretary for Health Philip Davies said.

“Again staff are at liberty to use social media for social purposes, but we do instruct them not to discuss professional and work-related matters via social media.”

Commenting on the video of the confrontation itself Mr Davies said while staff would be aware of the need to interact calmly with patients, the situation was a very stressful one.

“But again that is not an excuse, it should never be an excuse, but as you have commented yourself there was, and I think that you can see from that video that there was other stuff going on in the background which clearly meant it was a stressful time.

“That is not an excuse, but it is very clearly a factor.”

CWMH consultant obstetrician Dr James Fong also addressed the video and concerns the parents were not informed of what was happening to their daughter.

He said the delayed time of presentation also played a part in communicating with the parents because the mother arrived at hospital at 7pm after being in labour since 9am the same day.

“We generally try to advise them, but as I said the time between the arrival of the patient and the presentation of the baby in such a critical position was very little,” Dr Fong said.

“There was not enough time to warn everybody that this is what is about to happen. But in general the policy is that if you have the time to warn people that something is about to happen, then you warn them and then when it happens you tell them that this is what you are doing, but the crew was assembled very quickly and the focus had to be on the baby first.

“It is a grave concern among us that the impact of social media is putting quite a strain on our ability to hold ourselves back and reply because in many instances to reply we have to release confidential information and if we release that confidential information then that means that patients will feel insecure about coming to the hospital.

“And it’s going to affect their health seeking behaviour.

“I think it needs to be understood that there is a lot that doctors cannot say, that nurses cannot say when they are being accused of wrongdoing.”

23) Two billion people drinking contaminated water: WHO

10:16 pm GMT+12, 12/04/2017, Switzerland

Dramatic improvements are needed in ensuring access to clean water and sanitation worldwide, the World Health Organisation said Thursday, warning that nearly two billion people currently use faecal-contaminated water.

Hundreds of thousands of people die each year because they are forced to drink contaminated water, the WHO said, urging large investments to help provide universal access to safe drinking water.

“Today, almost two billion people use a source of drinking-water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio,” Maria Neira, who head’s WHO’s public health department, said in a statement.

“Contaminated drinking-water is estimated to cause more than 500,000 diarrhoeal deaths each year and is a major factor in several neglected tropical diseases, including intestinal worms, schistosomiasis and trachoma,” she added.

In 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — a series of aspirational targets for eradicating poverty and boosting human wellbeing, including vowing to ensure universal access to safe and affordable water and sanitation by 2030.

But according to a fresh report Thursday, published by WHO on behalf of UN-Water, countries will fall far short of this goal if they do not radically increase their investments.

The report welcomed the fact that countries had on average raised their annual budgets for water, sanitation and hygiene by 4.9 percent over the past three years.

But 80 percent of countries acknowledge that their financing is still not enough to meet their nationally-set targets for increasing access to safe water and sanitation, it found.

“In many developing countries, current national coverage targets are based on achieving access to basic infrastructure, which may not always provide continuously safe and reliable services,” WHO warned in a statement.

The World Bank has meanwhile estimated that investments in infrastructure will need to triple to $114 billion per year — not including operating and maintenance costs — in order to meet the SDG targets.

“This is a challenge we have the ability to solve,” said Guy Ryder, Chair of UN-Water and head of the International Labour Organisation.

“Increased investments in water and sanitation can yield substantial benefits for human health and development, generate employment and make sure that we leave no one behind,” he added.



By Aloysius Laukai

The member for South Bougainville, TIMOTHY MASIU says that he understands the hardships faced by people from remote mountainous places because he comes from the mountains of Wisai.
He made these remarks at the Opening of the Double Classroom at KONIGURU Primary School on Tuesday.
MR. MASIU was responding to comments made by the people of Koniguru in their speeches and songs they presented at the Opening.
He said mountain people from Wisai, Buin, Siwai, BANA and TOROKINA all face difficulties like transport,education and Health and he will look into their hardships.
Member TIMOTHY MASIU was accompanied by the ABG member for LULE, JOSEPH NABUAI KANGKI.13/4/7 Dawn Fm Autonomous Bougainville.

25a ) FinEd award launch

Monika Singh
Saturday, April 15, 2017

THE recently launched first National Financial Education Innovation Awards aims to highlight and celebrate the achievements of teachers and primary schools in Fiji that have actively implemented the FinEd curricula and who have taken the initiative to develop projects that demonstrate real-life applications of good money practices.

A media statement from the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme said the awards were announced by the Reserve Bank of Fiji.

According to PFIP FinEd in schools is globally recognised as a best practice model to inculcate responsible financial behaviour in children from an early age, of increased importance in the modern money economy.

It said supported by the Australian Government, FinEd was an initiative of the PFIP in partnership with RBF and the Ministry of Education.

“Thanks to the tireless efforts of Fiji’s school teachers, the expected outcome is to build a generation of young women and men leaving school with the requisite financial knowledge, skills and confidence to be able to make responsible financial decisions which are appropriate to their circumstances, whilst both making a living in the modern money economy and contributing to community and national growth,” said Abigail Chang, PFIP financial education specialist.

She said since the roll out of FinEd Fiji, there had been ongoing teacher training at the district and school level, with a number of exciting implementation experiences.

Schools can submit their entries under two categories:

1. FinEd Champion School Award for Innovation — schools that have taught FinEd across all year levels within primary school and that have taken a whole-school approach to a FinEd-related project, which involves practically applying the FinEd learning.

2. FinEd Champion Teacher Award for Innovation — teachers who are teaching FinEd at the primary school level in 2017, and who have introduced an innovative project to reinforce and supplement FinEd classroom learning.

The project must demonstrate the practical application of a minimum of five FinEd learning outcomes, within the teacher’s year level and must also encourage students to develop a life-long interest in sound personal financial management. Winning primary schools will receive $2000 cash plus a trophy and winning primary school teachers will receive $1000 cash with a trophy.

Judging criteria includes whether the FinEd projects undertaken by students have had an impact on the lives of the students, their families or community in the areas of saving, spending or investing and whether the financial behaviours of the students has been impacted.

Applications close on May 19 followed by an independent verification process before the winners are announced.

According to the PFIP, FinEd was fully implemented nationwide in April 2013, and it integrates learning around personal money management and investment.

FinEd curricula was incorporated into compulsory (English, mathematics and social science) subjects across Years 1 to 12 with all learning being built around the topics of save, spend wisely and share.

It said Fiji was seen as a role model for FinEd in the region, recently recognised with a global award for the Asia and Pacific region during the 2016 Global Inclusion Awards.

This award was given by Child Youth and Finance International (CYFI) to Fiji to recognise its efforts in promoting financial literacy among youth and children.


25aa ) *STAE and political parties talk on preparations for legislative election *Televizaun Timor-Leste, April 13, 2017 language source: Tetun Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration (STAE) and political parties on Wednesday (12/4) talked on preparations for legislative election in July this year. The meeting was held at the Office of STAE aimed at sharing ideas on preparations for the legislative election. Speaking to journalists, Director for STAE, Acilno Branco said the meeting was held to talk on the role of political parties’ monitors on how to do monitoring in the elections. “This is the meeting that we held to meet with representatives of the political parties as the political parties’ monitors play very important role in the elections,” he said//

25b ) *UNDP and MAP implement resilience program in coastal area *Televizaun Timor-Leste, April 13, 2017 language source: Tetun The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAP) implement resilience program in coastal area where it is about “one child one mangrove”. The public television (TVTL) reported that the program was run to protect the environment in the country’s coastal area. Direcor-General for Flora and Fauna said this program was implemented in Ulmera of Liquisa aimed to protect the environment in the coastal area. “We are in cooperation with our donor UNPD, it is responsible for the realization of the program where the theme of the program is one child one mangrove,” he said.//

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By Aloysius Laukai

Whilst Papua New Guinea is ready to conduct the PNG General Elections, OMBUDSMAN COMMISSION is conducting its own independence awareness to the people of Papua New Guinea.
And yesterday they called in at the New Dawn FM office in Buin to carry out their awareness on the coming elections.
Officers from the Ombudsman Commission office in Port Moresby, SAM KUPUL and TABITHA SUVAE appealed to the people of South Bougainville to vote for clan and honest leaders in the coming elections.
They said that voters have the power to choose good leaders and the time to make the decision is during elections.
They said leaders must be honest, transparent and accountable that can move the country forward.
They said voters complain when they are the ones that mandate their leader fully knowing the person well.11/4/17 dawn Fm Bougainville.

27) Loyalty is key, Tikoduadua joins NFP

Saturday, April 15, 2017-Fijitimes

Update: 11:48AM THE National Federation Party’s 2018 elections campaign was strengthened today with the inclusion of a former Fiji First Member of Parliament and Minister of Infrastructure Lieutenant Colonel Pio Tikoduadua.

Tikoduadua made the announcement that he would contest the next polls on a NFP ticket at a special press conference in Suva today.

Speaking for the first time publically about why he left the Fiji First government, Tikoduadua said loyalty was the most important quality to him.

“Loyalty to your superior is the essence of soldiering. Loyalty must be given to a leader and also returned,” Tikoduadua said.

28) Solomon Islands Committee Moves To Ban Visitors In Parliament

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 04/13/2017 – 14:05

Standing orders being reviewed

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, April 13, 2017) – The Parliamentary House Committee is working on a new Standing Order seeking to ban visitors from the Parliamentary Chamber.

The Member of Parliament for North-East Guadalcanal Dr Derek Sikua said  it came after a review of the standing orders.

“A new Standing Order we are looking at is to ban visitors in the chambers,” he said.

“What this will mean Sir, is that no person will be allowed in the chambers except of course MPs and the Attorney General where he is required and of course yourself and our Parliament staff Mr Speaker, but Ministers will not have the services of their PS’s to turn to during question time.”

Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation

29) PNG Electoral Commissioner explains how people will vote
7:40 pm GMT+12, 12/04/2017, Papua New Guinea

The 10 million ballot papers, which have already been printed in Indonesia, are totally separate from the posters for candidates, which are yet to be printed here, Papua New Guinea Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato says.

He clarified this with The National, following confusion among some people that the ballot papers also contained the names of candidates.

He said the posters containing the names, numbers and pictures of the candidates contesting a particular seat would be printed locally after the final list of candidates was finalised at the end of the nomination period this month.

These posters will be displayed at polling stations and booths for voters to check the corresponding number of candidates of their choice. They will then write this number on the ballot paper.

“The ballot does not carry the names and pictures of the candidates. The pictures, names and numbers appear on the candidate posters,” Gamato said.

“People should not be confused about this. In 2007 and 2012, we followed the same procedure.”

Gamato said the posters would be put up on the voting compartment or at the polling station as a guide for voters.

“The candidate posters will be printed in the country after nominations close and the numbers for the candidate are drawn,” he said.

Voters will be given two ballot papers – one for the Regional seat and one for the Open seat.

The voter will fill the number of his or her preferred candidate on the ballot paper.

He said in a statement that 2017 ballot papers were “more secure than the 2007 and 2012 generic ballot papers with 15 security features – eight security features hidden inside a hologram on the top of each ballot paper and seven security features hidden on the face of each ballot paper”.

“Ballot papers for the provincial seats are blue while the ballot papers for the open seats are yellow,” he said. The 10 million ballot papers printed in Indonesia have arrived in the country and are guarded by armed police and soldiers at a secret location and will be distributed to the polling stations during the polling in June.

“The ballot papers are the democratic rights of voters and must be protected at all costs by the Electoral Commission for free and fair election,” he said.

“The ballot papers are securely locked away in 11 containers at an undisclosed location in Port Moresby after arriving from Indonesia last week.

“In the next one-and-a half months, the ballot papers will be unpacked and repacked according to enrolment numbers for each province and dispatched two weeks prior to the commencement of polling on June 24.”.


30) Conviction can oust MPs

April 13, 2017The National

MPs facing allegations of fraud and misconduct in office are eligible to contest elections unless they are found guilty by the court of law, Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato says.
Gamato made that clear after some people raised concerns as to whether incumbent MPs facing allegations of misappropriation and misconduct in office and were battling their cases in courts were eligible to contest.
“Allegations against a sitting MP or anybody are just allegations and it has to be proven guilty by the court of law,” Gamato said.
“Unless they are proven guilty by the courts, they are sitting MPs and will be contesting to defend their seats and there’s nothing sinister or wrong with that.
“It’s their democratic right and the Electoral Commission or the Ombudsman Commission or any other authority does not have the power to stop them from contesting.
“But if their case is in the court of law and later they are found guilty, their fate to continue or be dismissed is something that the court will decide.” Meanwhile, Gamato said delivering an effective, fair and safe election required efforts from all government agencies, the civil society, non-governmental organisations, supporters and candidates.
“Candidates and supporters must all respect each other and let the people choose who they want to lead them,” he said, adding that would minimise election related violence during elections.

31) New political movement bid
7:44 pm GMT+12, 12/04/2017, Fiji

A new political movement, said to comprise professionals and intellectuals, is taking shape in Fiji.

Its aim is to provide a political alternative outside of the existing or proposed parties.

This was confirmed by a key movement member, Adi Sivia Qoro, who has been active in the West. Adi Sivia, a pioneer of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), resigned from that party last year.

On the new group, she said: “It’s been talked about. I am sure very soon they are going to come out and make a statement.”

When asked who was leading the movement, she said: “I am not in a position to answer that.”

On the composition of the core group and how it started, Adi Sivia said: “I don’t think you can get me to comment on that. You are asking a leading question. There is a movement, people are interested….”

On details about the movement she added: “At the right time we will come forward and state those things we believe in.”

It has been speculated that among names allegedly linked to the movement include Kaliopate Tavola (economist, ex-diplomat and politician), Paula Uluinaceva (former Finance chief executive officer, Asian Development Bank co-ordinator in Solomons), Savenaca Narube (former Permanent Secretary for Finance and ex-Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji) and Pio Tikoduadua (former Minister for Infrastructure and Transport).

Tikoduadua has also been linked to the National Federation Party. He has said he would release a statement soon. The others could not be reached to comment.

Adi Sivia is a private consultant specialising in monitoring, evaluation of projects that are implemented by donors and development partners, social adaptation, gender work and media in the Middle-East, Asia and the Pacific.

She has just returned from Afghanistan doing work on European Union-funded projects. She was a Fiji Labour Party MP in 2006 and served as Minister for Commerce and Industry in the multi-party government of the then-SDL Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.

Adi Sivia said: “People who are interested in getting back into politics will do their homework, will go out and do their own fact-finding. That’s what I have done.”

“I may be out of PDP, but I am not out of politics.”

Adi Sivia said if you looked at the political scenario now, “I am sure there is an alternative.

“I do believe that people deserve better. We need to offer our people a better alternative in terms of opportunities, of nation building. We really need to come together and build this nation together.

“I would still like to be involved in politics in terms of good governance, accountability and transparency.”

She said the comments, even from lay people, generally were not very endearing.

She made it clear they were not joining the proposed HOPE Party, or any other existing political parties.

“Right now I will not disclose the reasons,” she said.

“We are exploring all avenues.”

When she resigned from PDP last year, she said: “Given the political landscape in Fiji, I made the decision that it was prudent for me to take a step back and assess what is happening in our country and its implications at a personal, family and national level.”

She said she would uphold principles of transparency, accountability, the rule of law, good governance, freedom of expressions and the separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judicial branches.

“Currently, however, I am of the view that there is a need for serious discussions from those who have a passion for serving our nation and its people.”.


32) Former journalist speaks out against claims of media clampdown in Papua

7:42 pm GMT+12, 12/04/2017, Indonesia

A former journalist and press freedom advocate in the Indonesian province of Papua has spoken out against claims of authorities clamping down on media freedom in the province.

Franzalbert Joku, a former newspaper journalist in Papua New Guinea but now a senior provincial government official in Papua told PACNEWS press freedom is guaranteed and alive in Indonesia.

“Generally, I do not see the work of journalists being inhibited. Journalists in fact speak out bravely against any attempt by anyone, including government agencies, attempting to influence or curtail their role.

“It is obvious that many Indonesia critics do not fully appreciate the extent of political transformation Indonesia had undergone since the end of the 1990s decade. Consequently, they too fail to recognise that the press in Indonesia also had inevitably undergone rigorous changes for the better hence guaranteeing media freedom as never experienced before, making the industry and practitioners increasingly fearless, inquisitive and objective, said Joku.

That includes foreign media who are allowed into the country. However, Joku said, they have to follow the law and fulfil the requirements of entering a foreign country to undertake their prescribed assignments.

“No journalist, as far as I know, is at liberty to march into a country at will to do anything he or she pleases. All countries, including Britain, USA France, Australia, PNG and New Zealand, have almost identical rules and processes that apply for researchers, film-makers and journalists. Indonesia is no exception. So, what is the fuss?

“All foreign visitors and workers must conform to rules, regulations and laws of countries they choose to enter. Those found to be doing so on false pretense ought to be prosecuted and deported. What is wrong with that?

“Besides, credible international media organisations based here are free to go anywhere in the country, as is the case in other countries, said Joku.

He was responding to calls from the international media watch-dog, Reporters Without Borders to the Indonesian Government to allow local and international journalists to operate in Papua without obstruction or surveillance.

Last month a French journalists, Franck Escudie and Basile Longchamp were removed from Indonesia for violation of their visas…


33a ) 2017: West Papua Media Briefing ahead of Indonesia Hosting World Press Freedom Day

APRIL 12, 2017

2017 is currently progressing as another dismal year for media access in West Papua as the false promise of Indonesian President Joko Widodo in 2015 to allow foreign journalist’s access to West Papua has fallen further into disregard.

For at least 25 years and likely much longer, foreign correspondents wanting to report from West Papua have had to apply for access through an inter-agency “clearing house,” supervised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and involving 18 working units from 12 different ministries, including the National Police and the State Intelligence Agency. The clearing house has served as a strict gatekeeper, often denying applications outright or simply failing to approve them, placing journalists in a bureaucratic limbo. In 2015, the Indonesian government looked ready to open access to West Papua, when President Joko Widodo made an announcement stating that the government would lift restrictions on foreign media access. But Phelim Kine, the deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch in New York, says that the announcement hasn’t pulled much weight. See Human Rights Watch’s “Something to Hide” report on media access in West Papua.

33b) Deportation of 2 more French journalists

Two French journalists Franck Escudie and Basile Longchamp were deported from West Papua and Indonesia on 17th March and have been banned from returning to Indonesia.

Both journalists were in the process of the complicated “clearing house” process in compliance with the Indonesian government and were being sponsored to film for Indonesia’s national airline Garuda. However, upon arriving in Indonesia the Indonesian authorities accused them of displaying a “lack of coordination with related institutions”.

According to Pacific Freedom Forum Chair, Monica Miller, The “Latest deportation of two French journalists is an embarrassing reminder of how little Indonesia respects press freedoms,”

Reporters Without Borders has also condemned their deportation and cited another recent example of 2 other French journalists, Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat, who were also arrested while preparing a report in West Papua in August 2014. After being held for more than two months, they were sentenced on 24 October 2014 to two and a half months in prison.

In January 2016, RSF also condemned the Indonesian government’s refusal to let another French journalist, Cyril Payen visit Indonesia in Janiary 2016 after France 24 broadcast the documentary he had just made about West Papua, entitled “Forgotten war of the Papuas.”

“A Bangkok-based reporter specializing in Southeast Asia, Payen had nonetheless obtained all the necessary authorizations before visiting West Papua in mid-2015. The broadcasting of the documentary also resulted in the French ambassador being summoned to the Indonesian foreign ministry.”

33c ) Al Jazeera journalist banned from West Papua and Indonesia

Following the deportation of Franck and Basile, the Indonesian government has also banned and blacklisted Jack Hewston, a freelance journalist working for Al Jazeera who planned to report in West Papua and specifically on news about the Freeport Mine. His ban was requested by the Indonesian military and according to the Immigration Directorate General, Hewson is suspected of “dangerous activities, endangering security and public order”.

34) PNG journalist disappointed by Turnbull presser ban

5:05 pm GMT+12, 12/04/2017, Papua New Guinea

A veteran Papua New Guinea journalist says she was disappointed to be told she could not attend press opportunities during last week’s PNG visit by Australia’s prime minister.

PNG journalists were excluded from attending a press conferences when Malcolm Turnbull visited a World War memorial at Bomana, and then later that day in a joint presser with his PNG counterpart Peter O’Neill.

Told the opportunities were strictly for Australian media, Gorothy Kenneth was surprised to be asked to leave the first conference, and then barred from the later one.

Kenneth said the directive to exclude local journalists came from the Australian High Commission in PNG.

“But it did really affect me. But in the end, the ABC guy stationed here in Port Moresby (Eric Tlozek) was actually really upset that it had happened to us because he told me in the end it was very offensive.”

“He’s the one who actually went and spoke to the Australian High Commission officials to advise them that this was not good and they should come and apologise.”

Kenneth said High Commission officials later came and apologised for what they described as a misunderstanding, but that it was not clear what the “misunderstanding” was.


LAND ( Melanesian Indigenous affairs+)

35b) Ni-Vanuatu Consultant Says Custom Governance Critical To Preserve Land For Future

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 04/13/2017 – 13:51

Efate Chiefs encouraged to talk about sensitive issues including land sales, alienation

By Jonas Cullwick

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, April 14, 2017) – Land consultant, Alick Kalmelu, of Ifira Tenuku says the land issue on Efate is a very sensitive matter and the chiefs of Efate should talk about the matter.

He said the chiefs of Efate through the council of chiefs such as the village council of chiefs, the area council of chiefs and the island council of chiefs of Efate should unite and talk about the issue of land particularly preservation of land for future generations.

Kalmelu was commenting on the views expressed by the newly-elected chairman of the Shefa Provincial Council, Alick Arram in which he highlighted common fears by many Efate islanders about the sale of land on Efate.

In the comment the new chairman emphasized the need for land to be preserved for future generation.

Kalmelu also emphasized that custom governance was also paramount for sustainable use of land and resolution of land issues whenever they may rise.

However, he added that chiefs needed to work together to establish custom governance systems to get chiefs to come together to talk about and resolve land issues.

“For example the land issues between individual land claimants and villages and then we go on to talk about the reservation of land for the people of Efate as a whole.

“Not only on Efate, we have to look at other islands such as Malekula, Santo, Tanna because I think that the population especially on Efate has grown so fast that there is no control over the population.

“I think the question is that land issues should go back to custom governance rather than the municipal or provincial governments.

“Here we are talking about custom land issues have to be addressed through custom governance rather than the Shefa Province or the central government,” Kalmelu added.

He said the current Minister of Land, Ralph Regenvanu has done a lot to amend the land tribunal act and introduced a new act, the Land Management Act to control the sale of land on Efate including other islands of Vanuatu.

“The key issue here is we have to make sure that custom governance within each village council, area council and island councils of chiefs have to be enforced because at the moment there seems to be a lack of willingness to introduce this custom governance to the public.

“For example, on Ifira we have Chief Mantoi Kalsakau and it is the duty of each small chief to help the paramount chief, because at the moment the custom governance doesn’t seem to work properly and that’s where we need to tighten up processes at the moment.”

Kalmelu is concerned that there are still a lot of loopholes in custom governance because that’s the main area where we can use to resolve land issues and land differences between the communities and even the identification of custom land owners.

“So we have to tighten up the custom governance system in village because there is no such thing in place,” he concluded his interview with the Vanuatu Nightly News reporter of 96 BuzzFM, Kizzy Kalsakau.

Vanuatu Daily Post

35c) 21 Fiji Families Residing In Settlements Receive 99-Year Leases

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 04/13/2017 – 13:59

People living in informal settlements now can improve homes without fear of being evicted

By Mere Naleba

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 14, 2017) – Easter has become more meaningful for 21 families after Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama handed them 99-year leases for land they have called home.

Four of the 21 families reside at Velau Drive in Kinoya while the remainder at Naulu settlement in Nakasi.

Deo Chand and his wife Brijma Wati relocated to Suva from Labasa in 1999 and built their house at the settlement in Naulu, Nakasi.

With the issuance of the 99-year lease, Mr Chand said he was grateful to the Government.

“We couldn’t do much with our houses because we felt that one day someone will come and tell us to dismantle our home and move out. But today it’s so much different,” he said yesterday.

Kinoya resident Alumeci Kaitu said she lived in Kinoya for the past 15 years and Easter could now be celebrated with ease because their future was secure.

“I’m the happiest woman on earth. My family doesn’t have to worry about land issues now,” she said.

While handing the residents the lease approval notices, Mr Bainimarama said for too long these people had been made to feel like outsiders in their own homes.

“For some of you, it’s been nearly 40 years that you have lived here without any certainty of your status,” he said.

“And for too long, you have struggled to secure permanent residence, but that all ends today.”

Mr Bainimarama encouraged people to develop their houses and communities with confidence.

“You can use your land as collateral to access finance, create value and build wealth that spans generations,” he said.

Fiji Times Online.


36) New system to boost EU, PNG trade

April 13, 2017The National

TRADE between the European Union and PNG is expected to be enhanced through the adoption of a Single Window system for the effective flow information by Government entities.
This was the focus of discussions at the Single Window Feasibility Study Workshop hosted by EU Trade Related Assistance Project in Port Moresby last week.
The workshop was attended by 36 officials from 20 Government departments and agencies identified as requiring access to the Single Window system.
Department of Trade, Commerce and Industry Trade Division First Assistant Secretary Richard Yakam highlighted the importance of a Single Window initiative to facilitate trade and provide economic prosperity for PNG.
Single Window short-term expert Anthony Tissington said the system aimed to “expedite and simplify information flows between traders and government, allowing traders to lodge information with a single body to fulfill all import or export-related requirements”.
Participants at the workshop provided their feedback on specific requirements for access to a Single Window, such as the issue of import and export permits.

37) Financial advice

Monika Singh
Saturday, April 15, 2017-Fijitimes

THE Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) urged Pacific Island countries to join the new multilateral financial institution to pursue economic development.

The president of the AIIB, Jin Liqun, gave the advise to a delegation from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat during their visit to China last month.

According to the Pacific Periscope, the PIFS delegation was led by secretary-general Dame Meg Taylor and the group reported successful meetings, pursuing regional cooperation with the Chinese Government and the key South China province of Guangdong, as well as promoting oceans sustainable development at the prestigious Boao Forum for Asia.

It said Dame Taylor met the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, and discussed the strong and longstanding relations between Pacific Island countries and China.

Mr Wang reiterated China’s commitment to working with the Pacific Islands Forum on important issues such as climate change and support for economic development.

Mr Wang said he would welcome Pacific Islands countries taking up the opportunities offered by China’s belt and road initiative and people to people co-operation.

“We have a long history of people to people links and China is an important partner for the Pacific Islands,” Dame Taylor said.

In a meeting with the director of China’s State Oceanic Administration, Wang Hong, it was agreed to co-operate in developing practical projects for the development of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture

The delegation travelled to the key South China province of Guangdong, with strong cultural and business ties to the Pacific Islands.

In its capital, Guangzhou, the delegation met with leaders of key agencies of the Guangdong Provincial Government and proposed a framework co-operation agreement for more regular dialogue, exchange and programs to strengthen economic, education, cultural and other ties, to be developed this year.

At the prestigious Boao Forum for Asia, attended by government and business leaders from across the region, deputy secretary general Andie Fong Toy spoke on the need for international and regional co-operation for the sustainable development of our ocean and its resources.

38) Fiji Link announces first female engineering manager

10:25 pm GMT+12, 12/04/2017, Fiji

Fiji Airways Group has today announced the appointment of Lavinia Mar as Manager Engineering for Fiji Link.

Mar becomes the first ever female to take up the critical role at Fiji Link, overseeing the entire ATR and Twin Otter fleet.In addition she is also the first local female Manager in a technical role for the Fiji Airways Group.

Mar was formerly a Technical Services Engineer for Fiji Airways, and was promoted to her current role in April.

Making the announcement, Fiji Link Executive General Manager Shaenaz Voss said: “We’re delighted to have Lavinia join the Fiji Link team and oversee the operational safety, compliance, and maintenance requirements of its fleet. She will work closely with Fiji Link General Manager Athil Narayan to review our Twin Otter fleet operation. Lavinia is the ideal candidate to take on this important management role at Fiji Link after being identified for succession a few years ago.

Voss added: “To announce this just three weeks after celebrating International Women’s Day makes the occasion that much more special and applicable for our aspiring youth out there looking to make a career in aviation.”

Andre Viljoen, Fiji Airways Managing Director and CEO added: “A key part of Lavinia’s role is to ensure that safety continues to be of paramount importance to Fiji Link, as it is with Fiji Airways. Only two airlines in Fiji have the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) accreditation , demonstrating our commitment to safety.

Lavinia Mar has a 10-year career with Fiji Airways as a member of the Engineering Department. She started off as a graduate trainee, and progressed to become ATR Planning Engineer and Technical Services Engineer.

Mar’s papers have been filed with the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji.

39) Fiji loses millions to seafood imports

5:21 pm GMT+12, 12/04/2017, Fiji

Millions of dollars is lost annually from the import of aquaculture products to Fiji.

Over the last three years, this loss has come from the importation of fresh fish and shrimp.

$232million (US$111 million) was lost in 2014, a revised $200 million (US$100 million) in 2015 and a projected $31 million (US$14.8 million) lost last year.

Fisheries Minister Semi Koroilavesau says this is one of the main challenges his Ministry faces.

“We’re spending about $20m in aquaculture products buying from overseas so our first challenge is to try and replace as an import substitution. We want to generate our own production here so that, that $20(US$10 million) plus million spent overseas can be kept here.”

Fiji imports a huge amount of fish and prawns to meet the demand from local hotels and restaurants.

Koroilavesau says aquaculture is their top priority now to help reduce this economic loss.

However, the Research Director for the Ministry says Fiji is challenged with producing seed stocks for fish, shrimp and fresh water prawns.

The Ministry is expected to set up pilot scale demonstration farms in the next three to six months to use disease free seed-stocks and increase production assistance to farmers around the country.



40 )


41) Vietnam ‘blue boat’ owners fined $36m, 43 crew charged in Solomon Islands
7:48 pm GMT+12, 12/04/2017, Solomon Islands

The Vietnamese caught recently stealing Solomon Islands marine resources will have to fork out $36 million (US$4.6 million) if they wanted their three blue boats back.

Fisheries minister John Maneniaru revealed this in parliament.

He said after consultation with the Director of Public Prosecution and the Attorney General, a fine of $12 million (US$1.5 million) will be imposed for the release of one boat.

In the event the owners failed to pay up, the boats will be destroyed.

Maneniaru said under our Bio-Security laws, foreign boats caught in our waters but fail to pay up their fines will be subject to destruction.

The minister also revealed the 43 Vietnamese fishermen who are being detained at the Rove Police Club have been charged under the Fisheries Management Act 2015.

The charges are:

*Illegal entry without permit, which attracts a $12 million (US$1.5 million)fine or imprisonment term for none citizens of not more than five years

*Illegal fishing without licence from Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, which attracts a fine of 5 million or imprisonment term not exceeding five years

*Using of diving apparatus in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and territorial waters of Solomon Islands, which attracts a fine not exceeding $5million (US$641,000) or imprisonment term not exceeding three years

*Harvesting of bech-de-mer using illegal diving gears in the country’s EEZ, which attracts a fine of $50,000 (US$6,412) and

*Illegal harvesting of bech-de-mer, which is currently banned by the Solomon government. This can result in a fine of $100,000 (US$12,825).

Maneniaru told parliament the captains of the three boats have admitted breaking the nation’s fisheries laws.

He said if the fishermen fail to pay up the fines, the case will be referred to the Director of Public Prosecution to deal with through the court process.

The minister also revealed that attempts to contact the owners of the boats to pay the fines for the offences laid against their crews were unsuccessful.

He said families of the detained Vietnamese have made repeated attempts to contact the owners of the boats proved futile.

Maneniaru also revealed the address of the blue boat owner was provided by one of the detained captains, which was passed on to the Vietnamese police to help out.

But he said whether Vietnam police will assist in this matter is another issue.



42) More Pacific countries to qualify for disaster insurance
10:17 pm GMT+12, 12/04/2017, Fiji

More Pacific countries will now able to get immediate cash injections after major disasters under the latest developments under a Pacific disaster risk insurance facility.

The Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Company which was actually established in 2007 as a pilot initiative currently covers Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, Cook Islands and the Marshall Islands.

Donor funding for the initiative comes from the UK, the US, and Germany and Japan.

Already two of the countries have received payouts from the initiative: Tonga, ten days after Cyclone Ian in 2014; and Vanuatu seven days after Pam in 2015, worth a combined total of US$3.2 million.

The World Bank’s Samantha Cook said the latest phase of the US$29.73 million project launched at the end of last month saw Pacific countries taking on more responsibility for their own disaster risk insurance.

“One of the uses of getting this cash is to be able to help the governments to avoid reallocating budgets away from their key development projects,” she said.

“So this basically provides a financial buffer to allow them to respond in the immediate aftermath before they have to do that budget reallocation.”

Cook said Fiji which was hard hit by Cyclone Winston last year and the Federated States of Micronesia which was struck by Typhoon Maysak the year before had already expressed an interest in signing on.

Apart from direct finance the initiative also involves technical support from the World Bank to Pacific governments in the areas of Public Financial Management, Contingency Planning and developing a Disaster Risk Financing strategy.



43) Papua New Guinea Steps Up Fight Against Coffee Berry Borer Infestation

Submitted by PIR Editor on Thu, 04/13/2017 – 14:13

$6 million in funding a start but falls short of commitment: Minister

By Rosalyn Albaniel

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 13, 2017) – The national government has approved K20 million [US$6 million] towards the fight against the coffee berry borer (CBB).

Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Tommy Tomscoll announced this yesterday during a news conference held in Port Moresby.

In attendance also for the announcement, was Agriculture and Livestock Secretary Dr Vele Pat Ila’ava, Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) chief executive officer Charles Dambui, National Agriculture and Quarantine Inspection (NAQIA) managing director Joel Alu.

Mr Tomscoll said the submission for this much needed funding was approved by government for release to the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) and the National Agriculture and Quarantine Inspection (NAQIA) on April 6.

The funds are K30 million [US$9 million] short of the K50 million [US$15 million] the minister had announced on February 21 soon after the initial detection of the pest in Jiwaka Province.

Mr Tomscoll said once the funds when released would go towards the ongoing efforts to contain the spread of the pest while also to increase awareness among the farmers in the affected areas.

He said funds used to date had been forked out by CIC and NAQIA, totalling K1 million [US$304,000] (K500,000  [US$152,000] each from the two state agencies) and from their own internal funding.

He added that most of it had been used up and what’s left is likely to run out in the next two weeks.

“The Government had already approved the K20 million it is critical that these funds be released by the Department of Finance and Department of Treasury.

“If these funds are not released we will have no choice except to call another meeting and scale down the current operations the barest to just awareness.

It will mean the check points which are quite costly to maintain will have to go and this will only the pave way for the spread of the CBB.’’

PNG Post-Courier


44) Ol Vanuatu athlete i redi long go trein long China

Postim 12 April 2017, 15:06 AEST
Sam Seke

Coalition gavman blong Praim Minista Charlot Salwai long Vanuatu i nau kamap strong moa bihain sampela Memba blong Palamen i lusim Oposisan na igo joinim gavman long aste.

Officer blong Praim Minista i tok long moning tripela memba blong Vanuatu Rural Development Party long Oposisan oli go joinim Leaders Party we i stap insait long gavman.

Public Relations Officer, Hilaire Bule i tok long haf past two long aftanun, tupela moa memba long Vanuatu National Party i tokaut tupela i lusim Oposisan na go joinim gavman.

Na bihain, em i tok 4 pela moa memba blong Oposisan i bringim ol kastom mat na i givim Praim Minista Salwai, na joinim gavman blongen.

Mr Bule i tok olgeta memba ia i laik joinim gavman long wanem oli lukim gavman i wok long kamapim planti gutpela wok long divelopim kantri, na i laik lukim stabiliti long sait long gavman.

Long 52-memba parliament blong Vanuatu, Mr Bule i tok Oposisan i nau gat samting olsem 7 pela memba tasol.ABC

45a )

45b )

45c )

46) Fiji aiming for success in Singapore

8:02 pm GMT+12, 12/04/2017, Fiji

Fresh off their first title win at this season’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, Fiji is confident that winning last weekend’s Hong Kong Sevens is a sign that they are on the right track for more success at the Singapore leg of the series this weekend.

The Olympic champions’ last World Series win came at the last edition of the Hong Kong Sevens.

Fiji captain Osea Kolinisau told The Straits Times on Wednesday): “We’re pretty stoked about winning last week but we know there’s another challenge at the Singapore Sevens, and most teams will want to learn from their mistakes last week and are gunning for the title.

“But we’ve got a lot of energy … the mood has been relaxed and we’re just trying to get our bodies and minds right for this weekend.”

The 31-year-old was speaking on the sidelines of a rugby 7s clinic at the OCBC Arena, organised by the Singapore Rugby Union in support of SportCares Foundation. Fiji Airways was a key partner for the clinic.

Apart from the Fiji rugby sevens team, World Rugby ambassadors Willie Lose and Karl Te Nana were also present at the clinic, which saw fifty local and international students from SportCares’ school partners participate.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu was the event’s guest of honour.

She said: “Sport has the ability to inculcate important values in our youths. Through rugby, our youths develop character, resilience and teamwork. I’m happy to note that SportCares has been introducing rugby to our youths, and making a positive impact on their lives.

“I’m sure this rugby clinic, held with world-class champions from the HSBC World Rugby Sevens, will be a memorable and valuable experience for our youths.”

The HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens will take place at the National Stadium on April 15 and 16.


47) All Blacks due in Apia Monday
10:12 pm GMT+12, 13/04/2017, Samoa

Two All Blacks are heading to Apia next week.

Jerome Kaino and Steven Luatua, who are both prominent members of the Auckland Blues Super rugby team, are scheduled to arrive in Samoa on Monday night for a brief visit to promote the first Super Rugby match to be played in Samoa.

The clash between the Queensland Reds and the Auckland Blues at Apia Park on Friday 2 June 2017 will coincide with the 55th anniversary of Samoa’s Independence.

It is the first Super Rugby match to be played in Samoa and the first major rugby match to be played under lights at Apia Park National Stadium.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, who is also the Chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union, said the upcoming clash is great for Samoa.

“We are absolutely honoured to see such an event held here in Samoa. This is a positive step for our country,” he said.

“We had the Manu Samoa and All Blacks in 2015 and now in 2017 we will host the Blues vs Reds. This will attract some great tourism and overseas activity, and it’s good to see such great support behind this match with our sponsors such as BlueSky. We hope in future to attract more select games to Samoa in our Rugby Union field.

“The game will also be held on our Independence weekend which carries great significance for our country. We will proudly watch on and cheer for both sides in celebration of our independence and our love of sport.”

BlueSky Samoa is set to play a key role in bringing the Super Rugby game to Apia.

“This is a great opportunity to support the strength and spirit of Rugby Union locally,” Toleafoa Douglas Creevey, C.E.O Bluesky Pacific Group said at the initial announcement.

“It will encourage grass roots growth and motivate our young ones to embrace the benefits of sports. We also want to embrace the exclusivity of such an event for Samoa. This is really big for our country and we’re excited to be part of this,” said Toelafoa.

“Part of our vision is to connect our Pacific communities around the world and what better way than to bring inspiration right to our doorstep. We will be a part of an entertaining, elite first-time tournament in Samoa.

More importantly we want our children, youth and young adults to know that they can aim high, and aspire to play this game professionally.


48) )




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