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Pacific links: PNG loses UN vote, kava bars, Air Vanuatu’s female pilot, Tanna and more

News, analysis and research from around the region.

The Squarerut Kava Bar in Austin, Texas (Photo: Flickr/The Austinot)
The Squarerut Kava Bar in Austin, Texas (Photo: Flickr/The Austinot)

  • Papua New Guinea has lost its United Nations General Assembly voting rights as it has failed to pay its annual contributions, joining Vanuatu as one of six countries suspended for non-payment. Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato said the non-payment was an administrative error that had been sensationalised by foreign media.
  • The Oakland Insitute has published a new report on foreign logging companies in Papua New Guinea, alleging that they are continuing to operate in areas where logging should have finished.
  • Low media turnout at a controversial speech by Papua New Guinean opposition leader Don Polye to the PNG National Press Club has raised concerns about coverage of the upcoming election. 
  • Henry Sherrell from DevPolicy has applied new research from Dani Rodrik on inequality to Australia and Papua New Guinea and concluded the poor in Australia are better off than the rich in Papua New Guinea, at least from an income perspective.
  • Fiji’s shadow minister for defence has called for Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho to apologise on behalf of the police force for the death of an 18-year-old in custody, who was arrested for breaching a domestic violence restraining order.
  • The EU has lifted fishing restrictions on the Solomon Islands, following the example set by Papua New Guinea whose restrictions were lifted in 2015. The move has boosted the confidence of the South Pacific fishing industry.
  • Tonga’s Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva has survived  a parliamentary vote of no confidence by 14 votes to 10.
  • The growing growing popularity of Kava bars in the US and Europe could help drive modernisation of kava cultivation in Fiji.
  • Air Vanuatu is welcoming its first female international pilot, Katura Marae, who previously represented Vanuatu at the 2004 Olympic Games at the age of 14.
  • Tanna missed out on the top prize in the best foreign film category at the Academy Awards but the people of Vanuatu remain proud of the film’s achievement.


Pacific Research Program

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