Pacific Islands

NZ pledges further $1.5 million to Pacific Islands Cyclone Gita relief

The money is on top of the $750,000 (US$552,000) that the Government has already contributed to the relief efforts.

“This additional funding will be directed to Tonga, Samoa and Fiji which have all felt the impact of the cyclone,” said Peters.

“A picture of the extent of damage caused by Cyclone Gita is emerging and it is clear a big response and clean-up job lies ahead. We are here to help our neighbours get through this,” he said.

RSE scheme likely to keep growing, says NZ minister

Around 11,000 Pacific people are working in New Zealand's viticulture and horticulture sectors this season under the RSE scheme.

Since 2014, the number of RSE workers has risen each year, due to increased demand from employers.

The Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said he thinks the RSE scheme will keep growing.

"We're seeing the industries that make use of the scheme growing. There is potential for it to maybe expand into other industries as well in the future. That's something that we're considering at this stage.

Pacific Islands Forum offers members tax advice

Five Pacific countries remain on a recently down-sized EU blacklist of nine tax haven nations.

The forum secretariat's deputy secretary general Cristelle Pratt said a meeting with the European Commission next month may provide an opportunity to discuss the issues directly.

"It may well be an issue that could be discussed, and it would be something of course that we would work with our members on if they requested support and assistance in that regard," Ms Pratt said.

The EU said the blacklist was part of a greater plan to promote good tax governance globally.

Linking agritourism and trade changing mindsets in the Pacific

Over the past five years the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation has been helping regional governments to develop agritourism policies and grow trade.

This has been achieved in Samoa and Fiji by linking hotels with the local farmers associations.

In Vanuatu, the government now primarily sources locally produced food for all its official functions and events.

In Solomon Islands work is beginning on developing food tourism and tapping into niche markets like beauty and wellness products.

Pacific Island leaders share climate concerns at COP23

They hope to play a key role in discussions on how to implement the 2015 Paris agreement on cutting carbon emissions and helping to prevent global warming.

NZ climate change policy to align with Pacific aspirations

Under the Paris Agreement, the global commitment is to limit warming to below two degrees above the pre-industrial level, but Pacific countries want the temperature rise to be capped at 1.5 degrees.

Mr Shaw said the new New Zealand government intended to pass a so-called Zero-Carbon Act to help curb global warming.

"In relation to the Pacific's goal of a one-and-a-half degree limit to temperature rises, we believe by New Zealand becoming carbon neutral by 2050 is a goal that is consistent with the Pacific's ambitions," said Mr Shaw.

     

First Pacific regional visit by Taiwan president

Taiwan's foreign ministry announced the president's first visit to the region on Friday.

Taiwan's deputy foreign affairs minister, Francois Wu, said it was hoped the visit would show the importance placed on Taiwan's friendships with the countries.

Six Pacific island countries recognise Taiwan's independence from China and are among 20 nations worldwide who favour links with Taipei over Beijing.

The Pacific visit comes after Panama switched its allegiance to from Taiwan to China in June.

Island exporters hail Chocolate & Coffee Show experience

Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand hosted six chocolate and coffee exporters from five Pacific Island countries at the show at The Cloud on Auckland’s picturesque waterfront last weekend.

Along with Tonga’s Tupu’anga Coffee were Samoa’s kokoloa, Solomons Gold from the Solomon Islands, Paradise Foods from Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu’s Tanna Coffee – all housed in a specially designed Pacific-themed stand titled the ‘Pacific Hub’. The six-booth PTI stand was one of the biggest at the show.

Obesity in Paradise

“I’m so worried for my life because I know I’m too heavy,” he tells SBS Dateline. “I’m so worried because I really love my wife and my kids and my family.”

Tavita is from Apia, the capital of Samoa, where there is an obesity crisis.

A former taxi driver, he would drink two litres of sugary soft drinks each day and regularly eat mutton flaps, a cheap cut of fatty meat imported from New Zealand.

Pacific leadership focused on improving lives of islanders

Gerry Brownlee made this comment after attending the Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit in Apia, where he was standing in for New Zealand's prime minister Bill English.

He told RNZ that the Pacific Islands' leadership is well focused on interacting with other countries to improve living standards for their own people.