New Zealand

Nauru judiciary will continue without NZ aid, says President Waqa

The island leader made the comment in Port Moresby where he has arrived to attend the 46th Pacific Islands Forum summit in response to New Zealand's decision to suspend its US$760,000 aid to Nauru's justice sector.

“Let me assure you nothing will change,” President Waqa told Islands Business magazine. It’s just New Zealand’s decision to withdraw the support, the funding but Nauru will continue.

Australia's inaction on climate change set to dominate Pacific Island talks

The issue will likely dominate this week’s Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ summit in Port Moresby, ahead of the United Nations climate change conference in Paris later in the year.

Pacific leaders want the world to work on restricting the global warming temperature rise to 1.5C, fearing a 2C target will risk the survival of many tiny islands.

Natural disaster recovery will be fresh on their minds. The summit starts on Monday, six months after Cyclone Pam, which flattened much of Vanuatu and caused heavy flooding on Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands.

Aust aid to Nauru not under threat: Bishop

Bishop says she has spoken with President and Foreign Minister of Nauru Baron Waqa and he has given assurances that the rule of law will be upheld.

That follows New Zealand's decision on Thursday to suspend about $NZ1.2 million ($A1.08 million) funding for Nauru's justice sector amid long-running concerns about democratic rights and the rule of law in the Pacific island nation.

Last year, the Nauru government forced the island's then only judge out of office and suspended most of the opposition from parliament indefinitely.

PIDF declaration seen as strong political move

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the PIDF has never been stronger and will sign a Suva Declaration, described as a common position on climate change, to take to a global meeting in Paris.

Jenny Hayward-Jones from the Lowy Institute says if the Pacific Islands Forum was to try to do a similar declaration, there could be confusion about which reflected the region.

Hayward-Jones says the timing of the PIDF move, a few days out from the Port Moresby meeting, makes a strong political statement.

Pacific health access improving in NZ

The Ala Mo'ui: Pathways to Pacific Health and Wellbeing plan was launched to identify why there is a gap in health outcomes between Pacific Islanders and other New Zealanders, and to address the disparity.

Associate Health Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga says Pacific Islanders are showing better figures in accessing care from a nurse or doctor compared to the total New Zealand population.

But he says too many Pacific Islanders are affected by diabetes, childhood tooth decay and childhood obesity.


NZ dragging its feet on refugees, says Amnesty

It is estimated this year alone, a third of a million people have crossed the Mediterranean from war-torn countries to get to southern Europe, with almost 3000 people dying in the attempt.

New Zealand executive director of Amnesty International said the country needed to step up, like Germany and Sweden had, and do its fair share to help.

Grant Bayldon said New Zealand had not changed its refugee quota in almost 30 years and was ranked 90th in the world for the number of refugees it took annually.

Fears for future of Pasifika Education Centre

New Zealand's oldest Pacific Education provider says it is disappointed by funding cuts, which have led to fears in the Pasifika community that it may be forced to close.

The opposition Labour Party is calling on the government to save the Pasifika Education Centre, which was established in 1978 as an educational resource for Pasifika people

The Labour party says the Tertiary Education Commission has slashed its funding contribution for the next financial year from 80 percent to less than five percent.

Eye on UNSC seat, India woos Pacific islands with investments

Hosting the first regional summit of the NDA government, India was stitching a positive relationship with the Pacific Islands even as the India-Pakistan NSA talks were coming apart. Anil Wadhwa, Secretary East in MEA, told journalists there was widespread support by the Pacific Islands for India's candidature in the UNSC.

Puna challenges Cooks diaspora to help country

Puna is in New Zealand as an official guest of the Government to celebrate the 50th anniversary of self government in free association with New Zealand.

He says because Cook Islanders, as New Zealand citizens, are free to travel to New Zealand and Australia, they can't be stopped from travelling.

Lack of regulations likely to increase crimes linked to virtual currencies

These include terrorism financing, money laundering and trade in illicit goods and services.

Research carried out in eight member countries indicates that legitimate use of virtual currencies is widespread across a spectrum of different industries ranging from selling handbags in Nigeria to providing plumbing services in New Zealand. But findings also demonstrate an absence of legal and regulatory frameworks is increasing the threat of criminal exploitation.