Pacific Islands

Managed transit allows stranded New Zealand travellers to get home

“There are millions of people around the world stranded by COVID-19 and we are continuing to do our part to help them get home,” Mr Peters said. “Accordingly, Cabinet agreed yesterday that New Zealand would seek reciprocal transit arrangements with a number of countries to enable our citizens to transit each other’s airports.

“One barrier to New Zealanders getting home at present is the transit restrictions imposed by a number of countries. We continue to seek assistance from these countries to enable New Zealanders to transit through their airports in order to come home.

WHO says people in Pacific should be prepared for long-term battle

Takeshi Nakai warns the epidemic is far from over and people should be prepared for a long-term battle.

However, Dr Nakai said countries in Asia show there are successful ways of slowing the spread of the pandemic.

He said these include finding, isolating and testing cases early.

Dr Nakai said tracing and quarantining contacts quickly as well as stopping physical interaction is also proven to help.

EU keen to deepen ties with Pacific on number of issues

The EU is one of the region's largest donors, but the Suva-based ambassador, Sujiro Seam, said he was working to make the EU's relationship with the region more than an aid donor.

He said his bloc's support for the Pacific on issues like multilateralism and climate change were increasingly important.

"The top priorities of the new leadership of the European Union is very much on par with the Pacific priority issues. And mainly, it means that the new top priority for the European Union is the European Union green deal."

Fisheries Commission must consider climate change impact - FFA

The FFA Director-General, Manu Tupou-Roosen, is in Port Moresby for the latest meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.

She said members are calling for stronger action by the commission to recognise the impacts on fisheries, food security and livelihoods.

Five Pacific countries in line for visa-free access to Ukraine

According to the Ukrainian Government, the Parliament will be asked to grant visa-free access for 14 more countries.

They include Samoa, Palau, Nauru, Solomon Islands and the Marshall Islands.

Currently, passport holders of these five countries are eligible for electronic visas as are all those from other Pacific Island countries apart from Papua New Guinea.

The Government said expanding the list of countries for visa-free travel was the key for opening the world for Ukrainians.

     

NZ declares war on coconut rhinoceros beetle in the Pacific

A new strain of the beetle, CRB-G, is resistant to traditional control methods, and the government said it could cause $US150 million dollars to be lost from the Pacific's coconut and palm oil industries every year.

CRB-G is established in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands where it is damaging palm trees.

New Zealand is contributing about $US11 million dollars to the fight, some of which will go to science institute AgResearch.

Once a stronghold, Taiwan's presence in the Pacific wanes

In just four days, Taiwan's diplomatic allies fell from 17 to 15, further isolating the island as Beijing aggressively courts the handful of countries that still recognise the government in Taipei.

The Pacific had been a stronghold of support for Taipei as its diplomatic allies steadily dwindled. Until this week, six countries in the region recognised Taiwan over China. But in terms of population, Solomon Islands and Kiribati were the biggest.

Work commences on Pacific undersea internet cable

The 13,700km Southern Cross NEXT cable will connect Tokelau for the first time, as well landing points in Kiribati, Fiji, Samoa, Australia and New Zealand.

Nokia's Alcatel Submarine Networks is building the network, which will be the largest capacity system between Australia and New Zealand and the US, its chief executive Philippe Piron said in a post on LinkedIn.

New Zealand is putting $US14.8 million toward connecting Tokelau to the cable, while the territory's government is contributing $US4.5 million.

     

Pacific travellers encouraged to get measles vaccination

New Zealand's Director of Public Health said a lot of people have close ties with the Pacific region and with school holidays approaching, many plan to travel.

Caroline McElnay said the Ministry is seeing a substantial number of measles cases in Auckland and wants to limit the outbreak.

China's Pacific investment a 'trap'

It comes as Solomon Islands continues to reassess its relationship with Taiwan, ahead of a possible diplomatic switch to China.

Sixteen Solomons MPs declared last week they wanted the country to stick with Taiwan, following the visit of a ministerial delegation to China.

The group is led by the Minister for National Planning, Rick Hou, who said a vote in parliament on the matter would not happen this year.

Speaking to reporters in Palau last week, Dr Wu said he respected that the Solomons needed time to debate the issue.