Alastair Davis is an intern in the Lowy Institute Melanesia Program.

  • Political tension relating to payments to ex-combatants in the Solomon Islands has continued. PM Sogavare has responded forcefully to critics of his contribution towards peace in the Solomons.
  • Vanuatu Youth Against Corruption warn that 70% of 18-21 year-olds have been denied the chance to register to vote in Friday's snap election. This is contested by the Electoral Commission.
  • Observer groups from the Pacific Islands Forum and the Commonwealth have acknowledged the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the Vanuatu election, and have praised the access afforded to observers thus far.
  • In Fiji, the leader of the NFP opposition party has raised the possibility of withdrawing his three MPs from parliament in protest at what the opposition sees as a lack of bipartisanship and open debate.
  • Bill Standish predicts a turbulent year ahead for PNG politics, with the end of the resources boom and pending legal issues presenting challenges to the leadership of PM O'Neill. 
  • ANU academics have produced a country-wide analysis on food shortages in PNG, highlighting the ongoing effects of the drought. Government drought assistance is at risk of being distributed to political supporters rather than those most in need.
  • Fiji has received a shipment of Russian military equipment and expects the arrival of Russian military personnel to train their Fijian counterparts in the next month.
  • The US has announced its intention to withdraw from the US Pacific Islands Fisheries treaty, a blow to the budgets of many Pacific countries.
  • The PNG Hunters will play the Penrith Panthers NSW Cup side to officially open the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby on 6 February.