Pacific news in brief for September 23

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Lack of fuel hampers aviation, police want Samoa’s ex-PM charged and five arrests in PNG for violence

Jet fuel crisis in Samoa

Samoa is experiencing a shortage of aviation fuel due to the backlog of oil supplies in the country.

Samoa Airways Twin Otter at Tafuna International Airport in American Samoa.
Photo: Dominic Godfrey / RNZ Pacific

The next supply should arrive on September 26.

An email sent by one of the local cargo companies to its customers says it has been advised by Samoa Airways that due to a shortage of aviation fuel in Samoa there will be no outbound or inbound freight to Apia until September 26, when they will review and advise the company if the freight can be re-sent.

“Due to a fuel shortage, the plane has to carry more fuel to return to New Zealand, which means weight is taken which was reserved for cargo.”

The local freight company says it can continue to pick up and accept mail while waiting for any flights that can pick up the freight next week.

A staff member of Petroleum Product Supplies, PPS, the only petroleum fuel distributor in Samoa, told Radio Polynesia that the tanker will arrive this week, but there are protocols in place for any new oil arriving with the company, therefore the PPS will distribute its fuel supply on 4 October.

Samoa police say ex-PM should be charged

Samoa police have recommended the indictment of former Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi following an investigation into a defamation claim.

The complaint was filed by the Minister of Public Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Olo Fiti Va’ai.

Samoa Observer Police Commissioner Auapa’au Logoitino Filipo confirmed that the investigation was complete and the report had been submitted to the Attorney General’s office for review.

Auapa’au confirmed that there were recommendations to file a complaint.

There has been no official word from Attorney General Su’a Hellene Wallwork on the investigation, which began in early August.

It is the third defamation case brought by the ruling FAST party, which included a case against an Australia-based broadcaster, which was dismissed in the District Court, and a more recent case against an unnamed woman.

PNG police arrest five in connection with CEO murder

Papua New Guinea police have apprehended five suspects following recent violence in Goroka, Eastern Highlands province.

ABC PNG correspondent Belinda Kora reports that police believe the five people were involved in the murder of PNG Port Corporation CEO.

Investigations will continue.

But the police chief assured people that normality must now resume.

The maritime expansion plan mocked

A proposal to expand the Pacific Outlying Islands Marine Protected Area has been called “conceptually contested and factually shallow” by the Western Pacific Fisheries Council.

The council’s science and statistics committee said the Pacific Outlying Islands Coalition, which developed the proposal, “lacks engagement with the territories, especially American Samoa”.

The expansion, which would have seen the protected area cover around 755,000 square miles, was requested by the Coalition in May and later backed by Hawaiian Governor David Ige.

In its application, the Coalition said the expansion would provide protection to 98 additional seamounts, which are ecological hotspots for biodiversity.

The Council will advise the White House and relevant federal agencies of the lack of scientific justification for the previous and proposed expansion of marine national monuments in the Pacific that prohibit tuna fishing in the United States.

The Board will also reiterate its June 2022 recommendation to request that a full assessment of unintended consequences, including social and economic impacts, be conducted and assessed through a transparent and public process if further closures are considered.

Counterfeit goods seized

In Vanuatu, imported counterfeit goods worth more than 5 million Vatu dollars – approximately $41,000 – were destroyed.

The destruction is the result of a joint operation between the Vanuatu Intellectual Property Office and the Department of Customs and Inland Revenue.

Property office copyright officer Lorenzies Lingtamat said the two departments signed a memorandum of understanding in 2018 to investigate the importation of counterfeit products.

He said that under this agreement, the customs department seizes all goods suspected of being counterfeit.

Among the burned supplies were hats, shoes, sandals and T-shirts bearing the Nike and Billabong brands.

Only two companies in Vanuatu are authorized to import these two brands.

New fund to get more Pasifika into homes in New Zealand

The New Zealand government has launched a new housing fund that will help more Pacific Islanders realize their dream of home ownership.

Called Pacific Building Affordable Homes, the fund aims to help organizations, private developers, Maori/iwi and NGOs build affordable homes for Pacific families.

Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio said it was also about building homes suitable for multi-generational Pasifika families.

“I’m making sure that as the whole of government builds homes for people in the social sector, my focus here is specifically to make sure we’re creating positive pathways, creating positive pathways for Pacific people to own their own home,” he said. said.

Research shows a plan is needed for retired Pasifika

A New Zealand report finds that better housing solutions and financial education are key to improving the well-being of Pacific retirees.

The research was commissioned by the Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission and undertaken by the Department of Pacific Peoples.

Pacific matua, or elders, from 18 households and nine Pacific ethnicities opened their doors to researchers for the study to share their experiences of retirement in New Zealand.

An online survey was also conducted by Te Ara Ahunga Ora among Pacific people aged 45-64, to understand their future housing preferences.

Pacific matua viewed retirement as a time of continued service to family, church and community.

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