15 Oct 2022

Pacific news in brief for October 15

10:01 am on 15 October 2022

Guam wants to be in the Pacific Islands Forum

The Government of Guam is to write to the Pacific Islands Forum to ask if it can join the body.

Guam Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio.

Guam's Lieutenant Governor Josh Tenorio Photo: Josh Tenorio

This comes amid ongoing concerns over the fragility of links between other northern Pacific states and the region's peak political agency.

At this year's Forum summit four northern members, the Marshall Islands, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Nauru recommitted to the body after a year of threats to leave over the appointment of the Secretary-General, but Kiribati has withdrawn.

Guam said it wants to be in the Forum to be part of discussions that will promote regionalism.

It is currently an associate member along with the other United States Pacific territories, the Northern Marianas and American Samoa.

Guam's Lieutenant Governor Josh Tenorio has denied the move has been hatched in Washington, but membership of the organisation would effectively give the US a seat at the table, in the same way, France has a presence because New Caledonia and French Polynesia are members.

Taiwan open to repairing relationship with Kiribati

Taiwan's Foreign Minister says the Taiwanese government isn't against repairing its diplomatic ties with Kiribati, despite the fallout between the two nations in 2019.

Jospeh Wu said they are open to Kiribati switching its ties from China back to Taiwan but it's entirely up to the people.

Wu said in the meantime, Taiwan isn't pursuing a reconnection with Kiribati anytime soon.

"If the Kiribati people feel that China after all these big promises are not coming to provide any assistance and they feel they want to come back to Taiwan to diplomatic ties, we are open to that but we are not actively seeking the switch of diplomatic relations," he said.

FLNKS will not send a delegation to bilateral talks in Paris

New Caledonia's FLNKS says it will not go to the bilateral talks in Paris.

However, other pro-independence members, separate from the umbrella organization, are still expected to go.

The information came after a meeting on Thursday, which was to confirm their departure.

President of the UPM party Victor Tutugoro told La Premiere there will be no delegation going to Paris.

"In the terms of this discussion we have decided that there will be no delegation of the FLNKS that is going to Paris for the dates of the 27 and 28th."

The Palika and the UPM parties are under the FLNKS.

Housing crisis in NZ a challenge for RSE employers

One of the employers of seasonal workers in New Zealand says they have been asking for more long-term certainty in the scheme for years.

Yummy Fruit's general manager in Hawke's Bay Paul Paynter was responding to the New Zealand government's announcement that it would increase the number of RSE workers to 19,000.

He told Radio Polynesia that 10 years ago it was easy to go out and rent a house but not these days, and building one is slow and expensive.

He said it is much too late to build new accommodation now anyway, so it will be impossible to take advantage of the 19,000 RSE cap.

Paynter said that for years they have asked if good quality employers with a good track record could have approvals for five years, allowing them to plan with certainty and invest in accommodation.

Over 14000 voters register for mid-term election

More than 14000 voters are on the official voter registry for America Samoa for the mid-term election in November.

Chief Election Officer Uiagalelei Lealofi said the total number of registered voters for the 2022 mid-term election is 14,312.

Voters who have lost their voter IDs - which are required to cast a ballot - are told to visit the Election Office to request a replacement.

Uiagalelei reconfirmed the Election Office team will go out to villages to assist voters with disabilities, with absentee voting to be conducted at their homes.

Samoa amusement park to close

Samoa's only amusement park is set to be the latest victim of the pandemic when it closes.

The Samoa Observer reports Fiafia Park has begun preparations to shut down permanently with owner Tupa'i Bruno Loyal saying he "needs to move on".

The circus ringmaster and magician said the impact of the measles epidemic and the Covid-19 pandemic between 2019 - 2020 threw a spanner in the works.

Tupa'i said people have advised him to hold on a little longer as things will get better.

He said that's a very good thing but only in theory, but let's be real it will not happen any time soon.

But Tupa'i did say while he's closing Fiafia Park, he is set to revive The Magic Circus of Samoa.

NRL stars included in Fiji Bati line-up

Several NRL stars have been included in the Fiji Bati line-up for the game against the Kangaroos in their first match at the Rugby League World Cup.

Fiji Village reports prominent names include Viliame Kikau, Apisai Koroisau, Tui Kamikamica, Maika Sivo, Semi Valemei and Kevin Naiqama.

Other players are Jowasa Drodrolagi, Lamar Manuel-Liolevave, Netane Masima, Sitiveni Moceidreke, Ben Nakubuwai, Taniela Sadrugu, Penioni Tagituimua, Sunia Turuva and Josh Wong.

The Bati will play the Kangaroos at 6.30am on Sunday.

Wallisian judoka wins bronze

A Wallisian Julia Tolofua has won bronze in the world championships in Judo.

This is the 25 year-old's first world championship medal, but she has previous podium finishes in top events and won gold at the European Open this year.

The championships, which took place in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, saw Tolofua beating the Israeli Raz Hershko.

PNG to host 2022 Oceania Rugby Championship

Oceania Rugby has confirmed the 2022 Oceania Rugby Championship will be hosted by Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby, starting on October 19th.

The tournament returns for the first time since 2019 following a Covid-induced hiatus, and will feature teams from Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and hosts PNG.

Vanuatu has not played in an Oceania Rugby senior international men's competition since 2007.

Most nations in the Pacific are eligible to participate in the championship.

Oceania Rugby interim General Manager Wayne Schuster said that while there is just a small number contesting this year, its hoping it will reignite regular and meaningful competition pathways for all unions.

The Oceania Championship has served as a Rugby World Cup qualification tournament since 2009.

PNG is the current champion.