14 Jun 2022

Pacific news in brief

6:33 am on 14 June 2022

Climate crisis a bigger threat than war says Fiji minister

Fiji has told an Asian security summit that climate change is a bigger threat to the Pacific than military tensions.

Inia Seruiratu.

Inia Seruiratu. Photo: Alex Perrottet / RNZ

Fiji's Minister for Defence, Inia Seruiratu, told the summit in Singapore climate change threatens Pacific nation's hopes and dreams of prosperity.

Pacific states have urged advanced industrialised nations to do more to combat climate change.

Mr Seruiratu said waves are crashing at doorsteps, winds are battering homes, and nations are being assaulted by this enemy from many angles.

NZ dog handlers helping French Polynesia police in fight against drugs

Two trainers from the New Zealand police dog section are in French Polynesia to help customs officers and police detect illegal drugs being smuggled into the territory.

Methamphetamine use is considered a major problem in French Polynesia, with the authorities estimating more than 10,000 people regularly consume the drug.

The French High Commission said the dog handler training programme provided by New Zealand was started in 2019 but was interrupted by the pandemic.

It said that before the end of the year two more teams will be visiting Tahiti for training purposes.

Funding comes from the Interministerial Mission for the Fight against Drugs and Addictive Behaviours.

Most discoveries of the drugs have been made at the airport.

Request for prison on northern Tongan island

Tongan MP Vatau Hui has asked his Government to provide a prison for one of his constituencies, the small island of Niuatoputapu.

There is no prison on the remote island which is home to just over 700 people.

Hui made the official request in Parliament where he also asked for renovations to be made to a detention facility on another remote island, Niuafo'ou.

Hui is the sole MP for Niuatoputapu and Niuafo'ou which comprises Ongo Niua, Tonga's smallest and northern-most island group.

Samoan govt plan for arts body

The Samoan government is planning to establish a national creative arts body.

Deputy Prime Minister, Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio, said the body would set down a national framework and devise a short and long term policy for the arts.

Tuala told the Samoa Observer that the Government's recognition of the contribution of the arts explains the rationale for an allocation in the new Budget.

He said Samoa would appreciate the economics of the arts and will reap the benefits in years to come, adding that art is an untapped economic activity for Samoa.

Covid cases dropping in Tahiti

Another 31 Covid-19 cases have been recorded in French Polynesia in the latest 48-hour reporting period.

The number of active cases is now 88, which is a drop over the situation a week ago and well below the outbreak's peak last year.

The health authorities say there are no covid-19 patients in hospital.

The death toll of the pandemic is 649, with most fatalities registered during last year's outbreak with the Delta variant.

Vaccinations have continued and more than 81 percent of those 12 years and older have had two jabs.