Pacific

Pacific to receive bulk of bolstered NZ aid budget

The Government is set to hike foreign aid by $US500 million ($NZ714 million) over the next four years, as part of its "Pacific reset" strategy. The funding boost represents a 30 percent increase in overseas development funding.

Mr Peters said it was time to reverse the decline in the country's aid support for multilateral and humanitarian agencies over the past decade, which had been sitting well below international averages.

He said the new funding would lift New Zealand's Overseas Development Assistance to 0.28% of gross national income over the next four years.

Tonga ready to host biennial Pacific Media Summit

The biennial meet is scheduled to be opened by Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva at the Kalofiama Epworth Hall.

The theme for the summit is ‘Empowering the Media for Digital Challenges.”

The future of journalism is being challenged due to new developments like multi-media journalism, fake news and social media.

Discussions will focus on the challenges these pose to Pacific media practitioners.

Other issues will cover reporting gender-based violence and the role of the media in following the work of integrity agencies like the Auditor General’s Office.    

Island tourists urged to get to know the locals

Christopher Cocker said culture was at the centre of what was on offer in the Pacific and a recent global meeting had emphasised the need for indigenous people to have more of a voice in the way tourism was planned and developed.

He said tourists to the region also needed to be encouraged to branch out when they travelled to the region to gain a more authentic experience of the diverse cultures they were visiting.

Pacific to toughen up on inter-island vessels

The recommendation came from the third Domestic Ship Safety Forum held in Papua New Guinea last week with 13 Pacific nations including New Zealand.

The Pacific Community's ship safety audit adviser Omirete Tabureka says second-hand vessels are usually purchased without a pre-inspection, but that will soon be a requirement.

"To make sure it's fit for purpose...[we are] probably looking at engaging some well-qualified inspectors and surveyors. These countries lack that kind of expertise."

Warning for Pacific people over indigenous data use

Keoni Mahelona of the Maori not-for-profit organisation, Te Hiku Media, said indigenous people had valuable knowledge, and their sovereignty and ownership needed certain protections.

Mr Mahelona, who is of Hawaiian descent, was speaking at the Kiwa Nuanuatech summit held in Auckland on Tuesday.

His current focus is on the revitalisation of the Maori language using digital technology.

"When we need tools to help us to do our mahi (work), often those tools are designed and sold by non-indigenous groups," Mr Mahelona said.

Australian opposition leader accuses govt of Pacific fail

The Australian newspaper quoted Mr Shorten saying the Turnbull government's approach towards Australia's friends in the Pacific had been found wanting.

He said it was neglecting the South Pacific as Chinese influence in the region grows.

China has reacted angrily to claims it is burdening small island states with infrastructure debt, buying influence in the South -Pacific with "gifts" for projects and proposing ports that could be used by the Chinese navy.

Britain and NZ to co-host Pacific climate change forum

The New Zealand Herald reports the Foreign Minister Winston Peters welcomed the pledge on closer co-operation in the Pacific made by his British counterpart Boris Johnson following talks between the pair in London.

The two foreign ministers discussed a range of issues including future negotiations on a bilateral Free Trade Agreement post-Brexit in March 2019, and Peters reiterated New Zealand's support for the UK following the attack in Salisbury.

Aust minister says the people oppose aid increases

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that 80 percent of Australians do not support any further spending on foreign aid.

Ms Fierravanti-Wells revealed the results of the government's polling as she called for Britain to partner on infrastructure development in the Pacific.

Speaking to aid agencies on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, she said the Australian aid budget will be kept at US$3 billion dollars and would not increase until the economy was back on a sustainable footing.

Pacific finish Commonwealth Games with 18 medals

Weightlifting led the way with 11 medals while boxing, lawn bowls, athletics, rugby sevens and beach volleyball combined for another seven.

The Pacific won 18 medals on the Gold Coast, their best return since winning 21 at the 2002 Games in Manchester.

Samoa was the region's top performer with two gold and three silver medals, their highest ever Commonwealth Games tally.

Papua New Guinea won three medals in weightlifting, including Steven Kari repeating his gold medal effort from 2014.

Australia wants more influence in the Pacific

The Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop is using a trip to Papua New Guinea and Tonga to tell Pacific nations that they are Australia's biggest beneficiaries.

Speaking in the PNG province of New Ireland, Ms Bishop said Australia is funding programmes which promote good governance and would strengthen relationships.

"We believe that we are the natural partner of choice along with New Zealand for the islands of the Pacific where we work across a whole range of areas," she said.