March 2015

Neighbours clash in backyard squabble

According to the media reports, the Australian government has indefinitely postponed the meeting of Pacific Island leaders that was to discuss one of the most important geo-political issues in the region- what will be the role of Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) in the Pacific Islands Forum. When governments cancel ...

January 2015

Islands assert Asia Pacific role

When the western business world refers to the ‘Asia Pacific’ as a region, the focus is usually on the fast growing economies of Asia and those of the Pacific Rim nations, including Australia and New Zealand. The heart of the Pacific Ocean – the Pacific Islands – is rarely part ...

December 2014

All dressed up and somewhere to go – at last!

Dev Nadkarni

Eight years ago, just weeks after Voreqe Bainimarama took over the reins of Fiji’s administration, I was among the earliest from the international media to interview him for the New Zealand Herald. In that more than two-hour rambling interview in the Prime Ministerial offices at Government Buildings, he was at ...

May 2012

Australia’s Pacific seasonal worker pilot scheme: Why has take-up been so low?

Stephen Howes & Danielle Hay

The Australian Government introduced the Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme (PSWPS) in 2008 to allow Pacific Islanders to work in Australia as fruit and vegetable-pickers for periods of up to six months.

Labour mobility and PACER-Plus

Wesley Morgan

Many Pacific governments want to send more workers to Australia and New Zealand to allow islanders to earn much-needed cash incomes and send money home for their families and local communities.

United front by regional media?

The Pacific Islands News Association’s call to the region’s fractious media organisations to work together and move forward at its Fiji convention in late March must be welcomed.

Injustices on Marshallese continue

The United States’ renewed interest in the region in the wake of big Asian powers digging in their heels deeper in the Pacific Islands and dropping their heavy anchors in the vast, rich ocean around them is what may bring closure to a serious, long-standing problem in the Marshall Islands.

MSG, engine of growth for the Pacific

In the past few years, the Pacific region has witnessed the meteoric rise of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, comprising the four Melanesian Pacific Islands nations of Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu (the FLNKS —Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste, the militant socialist pro-independence alliance of political ...

June 2012

Diplomatic expectations raised and dashed

Dr Michael O’Keefe

Last month’s Ministerial Contact Group (MCG) meeting was a potential game changer that ended up simply reaffirming the sanctions status quo.

A new era in Australia-PNG business relationship

Dr Satish Chand

The Australia-PNG Business Council (APNGBC) held its 28th Business Forum on the theme “Today’s Opportunity: Tomorrow’s Prosperity” in Brisbane from May 13-15.

Trade—a step too far?

Dr Roman Grynberg

For many months now the Pacific has been waiting, just waiting for the EU to finally respond to its proposals for ending the EPA negotiations.

NZ Government timid facing the big issues

New Zealand’s National Party was elected in 2008 on the back of a popular vote and John Key turned out to be the most popular prime minister ever throughout the first term. But that mandate, popularity and goodwill were largely wasted, with his government avoiding taking tough economic decisions, instead ...

ACP/EU partnership under review

Geopolitical groupings all over the world—more so groupings of developing countries that are funded by nations of the developed world—find themselves caught up in an escalating state of flux as strong winds of change blowing from different directions begin to disturb the long established status quo.

Expectations of the Rio+20 conference

This month, yet another mega-jamboree aimed at saving the world will be held at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Called the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or by the catchy Rio+20 in commemoration of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) that was held in the same ...

Rio+20’s bottom up initiatives hold out hope

Dev Nadkarni

This month, thousands of the world’s political leaders, scientists, corporate heads and representatives from civil society, non government organisations and interest groups will gather at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (better known as the Rio+20 summit) in Brazil.

July 2012

New way to manage airlines

George Faktaufon

The airline industry is one of the few real global industries that transcends international borders. Safety, therefore, is of paramount importance not only to the airlines but also to the states that the airlines operate to.

How election campaigns are won in PNG

Dr Satish Chand

PNG had its national election last month. The results are probably out by now. And the new government will be taking office anytime soon. Here, I report on my week-long observation of the election campaign in the highlands of this colourful country.

Tightening immigration controls

One of the most important and crucial factors in encouraging the growth of any regional economy is the ability of people to move freely between countries around that region, not just for employment but also for developing trade and business links.

Rio+20 a huge failure?

‘At the end of Rio+20, no binding agreements were arrived at or signed on. None of the overarching commitments that have been repeatedly sought after at such mega events previously were to be seen. Rather, a feel good document was put out with several initiatives agreed to, mostly informally, by ...

China’s clever game in the Pacific

"China has played its game in the Pacific cleverly. It has employed what is termed as ‘soft power’ to win influence. It has extended the hand of unconditional friendship and one cannot say there has been coercion or threatens of any sort. That is one of the reasons why its ...

End of news media as we know it?

One of the pithier definitions of news is,‘something that someone somewhere doesn’t want you to know’. More often than not, that someone is in a position of power—either in government or in business— and what they don’t want you to know is some shady thing that has been done at ...

August 2012

The Cluches of aid dependence

‘In recent years, there have been several attempts to look at ways of reducing the islands’ aid dependency. One of these ideas proposed and espoused by the Pacific Islands Forum for sometime now is aid for trade. This involves promoting trade mechanisms and human capacities between countries within and outside ...

Illegal immigration rife in region

‘The Pacific islands are not immune to this scenario. Illegal immigration is rife throughout the islands region. Much of it is under the radar because of well oiled networks of people smugglers from overseas being in cahoots with local officials of islands governments—even ministers and elected representatives in many instances—and ...

Visible signs of changing positions

‘These announcements reflect the rising confidence of New Zealand and Australia that the Fiji leadership is on the right track, although they couldn’t be caught dead saying it in so many words in the media. In their pronouncements, both countries have been cautious. Despite their financial commitments, they still continue ...

September 2012

United States, China tug of war in region

‘The United States obviously realises it is already too late to catch up with China’s boat that is well into the waters of several Pacific Islands nations with a wide range of cooperation initiatives, including financial assistance and infrastructure projects. It will be interesting to see what measures it (US) ...