3 Jan 2024

Pacific news in brief for January 3, 2024

10:44 am on 3 January 2024
Fiji Police

Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Fiji - police assault

Fiji's acting Commissioner of Police said an investigation is underway into an alleged police assault.

Juki Fong Chew said he received the report last week.

The Fiji Times reports it is understood one of the victims was kicked by a police officer and had a dislocated jaw and needed to undergo surgery.

Two others had visible injuries.

The acting commissioner said the officers will be "taken to task" accordingly if they are found at fault.

Vanuatu - cash smuggling

A woman has been fined for attempting to take USD$60,000 in cash out of Vanuatu to Korea without declaring it to customs.

Kim Sun stated in her departure card she was not carrying cash over 1 million vatu, but when her bag was scanned, it contained the money inside books.

The Vanuatu Daily Post reports Kim Sun pleaded guilty to several charges laid against her in court.

She was fined 500,000 vatu - about USD$4000.

NZ - Pasifika children

A new report shows Māori and Pasifika children with intellectual disabilities are facing greater levels of hardship than other children.

The IHC report said 44 percent of Pasifika and 35 percent of Māori children with intellectual disabilities are living in the most deprived areas in New Zealand.

Save the Children New Zealand Advocacy Director Jacqui Southey said these children are more likely to be living in hardship.

"This means that the incomes in their households are not enough to make ends meet; they can't pay for the basics, and as a result are being pushed to the fringes of society and are really being left to make do."

She said incomes of families with children who have intellectual disabilities need to increase.

"We've got to lift their incomes but we've also got to have joined up services across education health and social welfare, justice to make sure that children with intellectual disabilities and Pasifika, Māori and all families are getting exactly what they need."

Samoa - PM's New Years speech

Samoa Prime Minister Fiame Naomi a Mata'afa has highlighted the next Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting in her New Year's speech.

The PM highlighted the importance of hosting the meeting as a small island state for the first time.

The Government of Samoa has allocated a total of $20 million tala in its budget to assist with preparations to host the meeting in October.

Fiame said she wishes to call on everyone's support to ensure Samoa's hosting of the event will be safe and memorable.

King Charles III is among the delegates expected to attend.

Cook Islands - rubbish

Over 90 tonnes of legacy waste is to be shipped from Rarotonga to New Zealand.

The project was spearheaded by the Cook Islands National Environment Services', Titā ki te Titā kore Project, aimed at removing whiteware, electronic waste and old vehicles.

Based on data from two villages, waste consisted of old televisions screens, computers, ceiling fans and fridges.

More waste will be removed as the project continues early 2024.