22 Sep 2023

Pacific news in brief for September 22

4:42 pm on 22 September 2023
Kiribati Oil Company says there will be a temporary shortage of LPG gas in the country.

Kiribati Oil Company says there will be a temporary shortage of LPG gas in the country. Photo: Kiribati Oil Company Ltd

Kiribati - shortage

The Kiribati Oil Company has announced there will be a temporary shortage of LPG gas in the country.

Radio Kiribati reports the oil company saying the ship delivering the gas should have arrived in August, but is now expected to arrive on September 29.

Kiribati Oil has decided to reserve its current supply of gas to critical customers such as the hospital, ships, schools, and bakers.

The company said it will sell gas to the public but in small 4.5kg cylinders.

Tonga - fraud

A Tongan woman involved in a Ponzi scheme which allegedly defrauded millions out of Tongans in New Zealand, Australia and the United States has been charged in California.

The Attorney General's Office in California said the 61-year-old woman claimed she used a "secret algorithm" to lure investors for defrauding.

Kaniva Tonga reports the defendant is facing more than 30 charges after law enforcement officials said she ran a $13 million Ponzi scheme out of her Stockton office.

She is charged with wire fraud, securities fraud and the sale of unregistered securities.

The scheme is titled Tongi Tupe Nu'usila.

Australia/Pacific - aid

An Australia Institute director says Australia gives more aid to the fossil fuel industry than it does to the entire Pacific region.

The Australian government has announced a climate adaptation partnership with Tuvalu at the United Nations Climate Ambition Summit in New York.

But the Australia Institute says Foreign Minister Penny Wong made no commitment to increase Australia's climate target, or to stop approving or subsidising fossil fuels, despite the expectation for all countries attending the summit to do both.

The Institute's Climate & Energy program director Polly Hemming said Australian taxpayers are effectively paying to make the climate crisis worse.

Tuvalu - exist

The Tuvalu government has made sure it will continue to exist as a country, even if the island disappears due to sea level rise.

Earlier this month it enshrined a new definition of statehood in its constitution.

Before the changes, the constitution did not address the impacts sea-level rise can have on statehood.

The new definition says the state of Tuvalu shall remain in perpetuity, not withstanding the impacts of climate change or anything else that results in the loss of its physical territory.

MP Simon Kofe said Tuvalu is the first nation in the world to define itself this way.

He said a state is more than just what is in the physical - it includes its culture, history and a spirit of the people.

The new constitutional amendments roll over on Tuvalu's 45th Independence Day on October 1.

Samoa - recruiters

Seasonal Employment recruiters in Samoa soon need to pay a $10,000 tālā registration fee, just over three and a half thousand US dollars.

Overseas employers will also need to pay an annual registration fee of $1,000 tālā, just over 350 US dollars.

The new policy has been approved by Cabinet and includes recruitment of workers to be handled directly by the District Council Committees.

Samoa - fire

The Samoa Fire and Emergency Authority commissioner has urged all property owners to install fire alarms on the back of another fire in Apia's commercial area.

The cause of the second fire in as many weeks has not been determined yet and no one was injured in the blaze.

Tanuvasa Petone Mauga said early fire detection is crucial and plays a vital role in protecting properties and especially lives.

Tanuvasa has also defended his staff from public criticism over water shortages in efforts to put out the fire.

He said the fire crews do not provide water and rely on the Samoa Water Authority for that.