30 Jan 2023

Pacific news in brief for January 27

8:24 am on 30 January 2023


A New Zealand employer hopes the Samoan government will resume the seasonal worker programme.

Samoa has put a temporary suspension on its people working in seasonal jobs in Australia and New Zealand until a review is presented to Cabinet.

Yummy Fruit general manager Paul Paynter said all of its people employed under the recognised seasonal employer scheme or RSE come from Samoa.

"We've been desperate now for labour for three years, since [the outbreak of] Covid, the absence of backpackers and basically full employment in New Zealand has meant really traumatic working conditions for a lot of our people and we were looking forward to having a smoother run this year."

Solomon Islands

A total of 84 Solomon Islanders have completed their pre-departure briefing to go to Australia under the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility Scheme.

Solomon Times reports this comes as the number of workers recruited under the scheme continues to increase.

The briefing is an opportunity for the workers to be informed about living and working in Australia, as well as the culture of their host country.

The 84 will be contracted under the Regional Workforce Management to various workstations around Queensland.

French Polynesia

The French authorities say their control over French Polynesia's Exclusive Economic Zone prevents illegal fishing.

The French High Commissioner, Eric Spitz and Navy Admiral Geoffroy d'Andigné held a briefing about last year's surveillance work of the armed forces, the police, customs and rescue services.

Spitz said it is effective because every vessel within the zone is observed, and therefore there has been no illegal fishing, for ten years now.

He said services will be upgraded with new and better aircraft due next year.

Among almost one thousand pleasure craft monitored last year, five were searched for suspected drug smuggling, with one found to have more than 400kg of cocaine hidden on board.

More than 400 rescue operations were carried out.


The judicial crisis in Kiribati shows no sign of ending, three years after it began.

The Kiribati Government has been trying in that time to remove a judge it had appointed, David Lambourne, who is challenging his removal through the courts.

Photo: Kiribati government

However, with Lambourne's suspension, the High Court has not been able to operate, resulting in a huge backlog of cases, including the judge's own.

The government also last year removed three Court of Appeal judges and then Chief Justice Bill Hastings - all of whom are New Zealanders - after they had found in Lambourne's favour in an earlier case on the matter.

In October the government controversially appointed its Attorney-General, Tetiro Semilota, as the acting chief justice in place of Hastings.


The Nauru government has issued a statement clarifying covid-19 quarantine and isolation rules.

Confirmed cases and their close contacts must isolate and cannot leave their home without approval from the Covid-19 health taskforce.

No one can visit people who are isolated.

Random checks will be conducted by the taskforce, and anyone in breach of the rules could be fined $US3,500.


The former governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji said the government should compile a report confirming Fiji's financial status.

FBC reports the coalition government had committed to having a mini-budget, but Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka announced last week there will not be one.

Savenaca Narube, who is also the Unity Fiji Party Leader, said the move not to have a mini-budget may imply a few things, one is that the government has enough money in their projections.

He said he would like to see a report just to say to the people 'don't worry, we have enough funds, and I think that will tide us over to the next budget in July'.

He also said the government might have found it unnecessary to redeploy significant amounts of funds from one budget to another.


Tonga Police have arrested a couple and a third person for possession and supply of illicit drugs.

Police intercepted the couple in their vehicle at a residence at 'Anana, and found seven packs of methamphetamine, and drug utensils in the woman's bag.

A further search was carried out at their Veitongo residence where the third suspect was apprehended, along with a pack of cannabis found in the room he occupied.

Police have also seized a scale, empty packs, and cash.

All three suspects have been remanded in custody to appear in court.