Pacific

PACER Plus could erode social services in Pacific says CTU

The CTU secretary Sam Huggard presented evidence to New Zealand Parliament's Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade select committee.

RNZI reports Mr Huggard examined the progress on the PACER-Plus trade agreement.

He said taxes on goods from Australia and New Zealand support health, education and social services, for which there are few alternatives.

"One of those would be a consumer tax like a GST or a VAT, and in the end those taxes hit the poor much stronger than they hit people who are well-off."

Kava drinking club - cool or cultural appropriation?

The multi-cultural group meets up for a drink each week, and is part of a trend that has seen kava go beyond its Pacific roots, but the Kava Society has got some social media users hot under the collar. 

But one of its founding members, Zbigniew Dumieński, said the group didn't pretend to follow any rituals or ceremonies and thinks it would be bad, culturally, if they did. 

He said his initial interest in kava was sparked while he was in the Cook Islands and Niue for research. 

Across the Pacific Islands, the price of kava is surging

The tradition, ceremony and culture that surrounds kava could be at the greatest risk.

Following the collapse of the kava market in the 2000s, many South Pacific kava farmers slowed production or walked away from their plantations entirely. Given kava takes a minimum of three years to harvest (depending on the season), response to surging Western and local markets is slow.

Pacific’s missed opportunity at Oceans Conference

Instead, the final Call to Action adopted by leaders the first UN Oceans conference in June ‘continues to perpetuate the myth that we are weak and small and need to be treated differently’.
 
Dr Aqorau, who is a former CEO of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), said Pacific and other Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) need to change this mindset because the current myth of smallness and we need special help is ‘undermining’ the value of their natural capital.
 

New World Heritage site 'links all of Polynesia'

Last week, UNESCO accepted the bid for Taputapuatea marae to become a world heritage site after nearly two decades of campaigning.

The marae complex is about 1000 years old and is seen as the point of origin for Polynesian seafarers who travelled to Rapa Nui, Hawai'i and New Zealand.

Otago University's Paul Tapsell said the site had always been significant and connected the people of the Pacific.

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Value chain workshop to propel growing coconut industry in the Pacific

Local farmers, regional traders, farmer cooperatives, non-governmental organisations, industry consultants, and representatives from key trading partners and actors from all levels of the industry will come together for the three-day workshop from 11-13 July.

Upskilling the Pacific’s broadcasters

Pacific Cooperation Broadcasting Limited’s (PCBL) inaugural Media Exchange Programme (MEP) got underway in May, with the initial four broadcasters arriving in Auckland for a two-week placement, at either TVNZ or Mediaworks.

The first exchange took place from May 15, and consisted of Temo Sukanaivalu from Cook Islands TV, Anthony Roebeck of Samoa Broadcasting Corporation (TV1), Glenda Gabriel from Papua New Guinea’s EMTV, and Tonga Broadcasting Commission’s Onesi Saluni.

Pacific Hockey catered for in global revamp

This month the International Hockey Federation, FIH, announced a new international competition called the Hockey Pro League.

RNZI reports the league will start in 2019 with elite nations like Argentina, the Netherlands, Australia, Great Britain, India and New Zealand all involved.

Oceania's Continental Development Officer Gill Gemming said the Pacific teams are not being left out of the loop.

McClay says PACER Plus signing a historic day for NZ-Pacific relations

“This is a landmark moment for the economic future of the Pacific. Pacer Plus will help sustainably develop the countries involved through trade and help raise the standard of living for their people. A more resilient and prosperous Pacific is in all of our interests,” Mr McClay says.

“In the short-term, the Pacific countries who have signed this agreement will benefit economically and socially through the joint NZ Australia $55 million development package. Long-term, trade will help transform their economies by providing reliable income and sustainable growth.”

ADB supports energy reform, clean and renewable energy in Pacific

The Pacific Energy Update 2017 provides a comprehensive overview of ADB’s energy-focused work in the Pacific. The publication highlights the impacts of ADB-supported energy initiatives completed in 2016 and ongoing in 2017, while providing details of what ADB hopes to achieve in the energy sector in the future.