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Pacific links: Paladin problems persist, climate warriors, more

Manus Island contract trouble, New Zealand’s cash splash for defence, and stories from the Pacific Islands region.

NZ Army Engineers set up desalinated water pumps for victims of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake (Photo: NZDF/Flickr)
NZ Army Engineers set up desalinated water pumps for victims of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake (Photo: NZDF/Flickr)

  • PNG’s Prime Minister James Marape met Australia’s High Commissioner Bruce Davis in Port Moresby, and took the opportunity to introduce his new Foreign Minister. This came as concerns are rising on Manus Islands as acts of self-harm by refugees are increasing.
  • In parallel, the government of Papua New Guinea wants a new contractor to take over security and logistics for Australia’s immigration detention centre on Manus Island. The contract with existing provider Paladin – which has been in the news for all the wrong reasons over recent months ­– is due to expire in a fortnight. Despite this, the scandal around the security firm is not going away. In this article, the Australian Financial Review reports that auditing firm KPMG warned the Home Affairs Department on the “moderate to high” financial risk of the firm and underlined that it didn't have the cash reserves to run a multimillion-dollar refugee contract. The Australian government is now under pressure to resolve resettlement options for people detained on Manus Island and Nauru.
  • Great news for the Pacific Islands countries! According to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), unsubsidised renewable energy is now most frequently the cheapest source of energy generation. The news came just after Time magazine produced a cover page on the leadership from Pacific leaders on the fight against climate change.
  • Speaking of environmental threats, New Zealand is about to spend $20 billion to upgrade its defence force, which will partially focus on how new equipment will help the South Pacific deal with climate change and its consequences.
  • The Marshall Islands is setting up a private fund to organise and finance its planned national cryptocurrency.
  • Great story by Stefan Armbruster on a civilian prison camp run by the Japanese in PNG during the second World War.
  • In the remote expanses of the Pacific, a king in Wallis has been rejected by the French’s highest administrative court and will not be established as the new monarch of the island.
  • Finally, here’s an important piece by Terence Wood on how to properly use the data from our Pacific Aid Map and avoid overstating China’s aid to the Pacific.

Pacific Research Program

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