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Pacific Island links: PNG economy, Vanuatu's corrupt MPs, Fiji resets and more

Pacific Island links: PNG economy, Vanuatu's corrupt MPs, Fiji resets and more
Published 14 Oct 2015 

  • Fairfax Media's John Garnaut uncovered more detail on the controversial loan deal the O'Neill Government struck with UBS last year to purchase a stake in Oil Search. The deal has sparked tensions with landowners who claim it has jeopardised their share of royalties in the PNG LNG project, while two former prime ministers have questioned the 'possible corrupt activities' involved.
  • Jonathan Pryke looks at why PNG is struggling to pay its bills and restricting foreign exchange access even though it is on track to have the highest rate of GDP growth in the world this year.
  • In Vanuatu, 14 MPs were convicted of political corruption on Friday but then pardoned by the acting president and parliamentary speaker, Marcellino Pipite, who is also among the 14 convicted. 
  • To better understand the legal background to the situation in Vanuatu, listen to this interview and this one with constitutional lawyer Professor Cheryl Saunders on Pacific Beat.
  • The World Bank's Asia Pacific economic update has cut PNG's GDP growth forecast for 2015 from 16% to 8.7%. The growth forecast for Fjii has ticked upwards and declined for the Solomon Islands, and is unchanged for Timor-Leste. 
  • The election of Fiji's new President, Jioji Konrote was heralded as the beginning of a new era for Fiji as he is the first non-iTaukei person with no chiefly links to hold the position.  
  • The new Minister for International Development and the Pacific Steven Ciobo made his first official visit to PNG last week, addressing the Women in Leadership conference at the recently opened Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct.

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