Pacific news in brief for May 24

Vanuatu – air

Qantas and Jetstar are looking to move in on Australia-Vanuatu services, after Air Vanuatu went into liquidation earlier this month.

Australian Aviation reports Qantas – which also owns Jetstar – has applied for around 18-hundred seats per week in each direction for five years.

It plans to start Qantas services in August and Jetstar services in October.

Qantas’ executive manager of government, industry and competition wrote to the International Air Services Commission about the plans.

Qantas has been contacted for comment.

Papua New Guinea – fuel

Papua New Guinea state-owned enterprise, Kumul Petroleum Holdings Ltd (KPHL) is stepping in to organise fuel shipments as shortages continue.

The fuel shortages, involving the main supplier Puma Energy, have dogged the country since last year, and in March this year, the government instituted emergency powers to allow other companies to become involved.

This included ExxonMobil, TOTAL, and KPHL.

Its managing director Wapu Sonk says the greatest concern is the shortage of Jet A1 fuel, used by the aviation industry.

KPHL sid a shipment has already arrived, and another early next month should give two months’ coverage across various fuel requirements.

Tonga – charged

Thirteen people in Tonga have been charged with cannabis-related crimes after a series of raids on Tongatapu this week.

Kaniva Tonga reports local police saying they’ve seized 42 cannabis packs, cannabis leaves, cannabis seeds and drug utensils in these raids.

Police say the abuse of drugs carries significant consequences.

Last week, Tonga’s Crown Prince alluded to his father’s concerns about drug use, as he delivered the King’s speech at the opening of the legislative assembly.

Fiji/United Kingdom – visit

Fiji’s Prime Minister says he visited British Intelligence headquarters, known as MI6, on his recent trip to the UK.

Sitiveni Rabuka has returned to Fiji after meeting with King Charles III as well Lords and Ministers of State, including the Secretary of Defence.

There are more than 20,000 Fijian nationals living in the United Kingdom, including more than 2000 who serve in the British Armed Forces.

Rabuka said the British Government recognized the need to forge stronger bonds in the Indo-Pacific region.

Pacific – labour migration

Work has been happening to build capacity among Pacific Governments on labour migration agreements.

The Implementation Unit for the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER Plus) has been working with the International Labour Organisation and the International Organisation for Migration at a regional workshop in Nadi.

The workshop aimed to build the capacity in terms of design, negotiation, implementation, and monitoring of Bilateral Labour Migration Agreements.

The deals are seen as tools to facilitate labour mobility and protect workers’ rights.

Solomon Islands – soap

Women from four communities Solomon Islands’ Western Province have launched a new line of body lotion and soap.

The products include jasmine, eucalyptus, and peppermint sea grape body lotion, as well as sea grape soap.

SIBC reports WWF Solomon Islands conservation program manager Henry Kaniki says the project not only promotes sustainable harvesting practices, but also empowers women to generate substantial household income.

This project is supported by Climate Resilient by Nature, an Australian Government initiative in partnership with WWF Australia.

Fiji – girmit

Fiji’s deputy prime minister is taking legal action against critics of Girmit Day celebrations.

Speaking to the Fiji Times, Professor Prasad said they had collected material and would soon take legal action against critics.

The action follows opposition member Rinesh Sharma taking to social media and calling out last year’s FJ$500,000 budget allocated for Girmit celebrations.

Biman Prasad told the Fiji Times FJ$230,000 was spent this year.

New Zealand – family violence

A Pacific family violence programme has received NZQA accreditation.

The programme will teach frontline and social workers how to handle domestic violence issues in Pacific households.

It is a community-created initiative which offers 20 credits to second-year university students, and will be available from October this year.

The Cause Collective cultural lead, Fa’amatuainu Tino Pereira, said it will enable social workers to understand cultural frameworks for eight different Pacific cultures including Samoan, Fijian, Tongan and Niuean.

“It is the first time in this country that a cultural solution, which provides capability in terms of a cultural point of view, to strengthen the families, has now been legitimised and given significant recognition by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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