20 May 2014

Call for Pacific leaders to slow development

8:49 am on 20 May 2014

A Samoan academic says Pacific governments need to slow down the pace of development, particularly land reforms, to prevent the alienation of customary landowners.

Dr Iati Iati, who is a lecturer in politics at the University of Otago, says there is a concerted effort in the Pacific to free up land for investment.

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Photo: RNZ

He says those efforts are encouraged by organisations like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

"I think a lot of these organisations need to actually find out what the priorities of the ordinary people are, try to be a little bit I guess more responsive to ordinary people's interests and pursuits as opposed to pushing their own agenda and as opposed to supporting an agenda that is really only benefitting a small group in some of these countries."

Dr Iati Iati says there needs to be more consultation with landowners before governments lease land to foreign investors.