MSG members to meet on 20th December to discuss West Papua’s membership

Supporters of full membership of MSG for West Papua demonstrate in Port Vila last April. Photo: AWPA

Vanuatu supporters of West Papua full membership of MSG marching in Port Vila last April. Photo: AWPA

December 20 is now proposed as the date for the MSG Leaders Summit to discuss membership, especially West Papua’s. The meeting was postponed from the first week of October in Port Vila. The new DG Amena Yauvoli told Kizzy Kalsakau of Buzz FM Nightly News that the date awaits confirmation from MSG Leaders. The MSG Secretariat is simply awaiting a consensus on the date. (Daily Post)

The People’s Plan as outlined yesterday on this website has been under discussion today in the National Convention Centre. This National Development Plan is to cover the period from Read the rest of this entry »

Returned seasonal worker starts support program to help other seasonal workers

Peter Bumseng: started a community support program to help seasonal workers. Photo: SSGM

Peter Bumseng: after experiencing the challenges of being a seasonal worker firsthand, he and his wife started a community support program to help fellow seasonal workers. Photo: SSGM

What happens in communities when migrants leave? Regardless of the benefits provided by remittance income and the skills learnt in new labour markets, there are concerns about what occurs back home. These questions are also relevant for the seasonal workers themselves who move back and forth between countries, coming and going from their communities and culture. One primary factor is how seasonal work can be gendered. For example, in 2013-14 and 2014-15, approximately 87 per cent of participants in Australia’s Seasonal Worker Program were male, which can have implications for families and local communities.

At the recent State of the Pacific 2016 conference hosted by the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia program at The Australian National University, Peter Bumseng spoke about his experience in the New Zealand Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) program. Peter was one of the original 45 people from Vanuatu who were sponsored in a pilot program by the World Bank to work in New Zealand in 2007. He has participated in the program every year since, and five years ago he and his wife established the Strengthening Seasonal Worker Family Program in Vanuatu.

In his speech to the conference and an interview afterwards, Peter explained how his community had responded to people leaving and returning as seasonal workers: Read the rest of this entry »

New border treaty signed with Solomon Islands; PM thanks NZ for post-Cyclone Pam assistance


President Baldwin Lonsdale, Vanuatu PM Charlot Salwai and Solomon Islands PM Manasseh Sogavare are travelling to the Banks Islands today to sign the historical new border treaty with Solomon Islands. The leaders will participate in a cultural festival at Motalava until late today, and Vetande Island is being declared a cultural marine park. Negotiations between the two countries for a border agreement began in 1983 and are being completed according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. It is the first such agreement for Vanuatu and similar future boundary decisions are Read the rest of this entry »

Opinion: PACER Plus is a poor deal for Vanuatu businesses that we should walk away from

Vanuatu says no to PACER Plus

As negotiations for PACER Plus, the proposed regional free trade agreement between Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Island Countries draw to a close, we can now see what it contains—and more importantly, what it means for Vanuatu producers. Read the rest of this entry »

The little-known history of New Hebridean labourers in 19th century New Zealand – a tale waiting to be told

A New Hebridean flaxworker in the Hokianga region of the north island of New Zealand, c. 1872, photographed by Daniel Mundy

A New Hebridean flaxworker in the Hokianga region of the north island of New Zealand, c. 1872, photographed by Daniel Mundy

About sixty thousand Melanesians, almost all of them from (present-day) Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, were brought to Queensland to toil in that state’s sugarfields in the nineteenth century. Today, the descendants of some of these ‘blackbirded’ labourers make up Australia’s South Sea Islander community. In Vanuatu and in the Solomons many families remember ancestors who suffered in Queensland. Historians have told the story of Queensland’s bonded labourers in essays and books and documentary films.

But the stories of the Melanesians who were brought to New Zealand have seldom been told. Only a relatively small number of Melanesians came to New Zealand, and few of them stayed permanently. But their presence prompted debates in the media and in parliament, and led to the creation of an historic set of photographs.
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Council of Trade Unions wants national living wage, not minimum wage

union training

Attendees at the VCTU/ILO training session earlier this week. Photo: Joe Harry Karu/Facebook

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PACER Plus negotiations not ‘final’: Vanuatu undecided, wants more for workers

Unconvinced: market vendors in Port Vila see no benefit for Vanuatu from PacerPlus. Photo: PANG

Unconvinced: market vendors in Port Vila see no benefit for Vanuatu from PACER Plus. Photo: PANG

PACER Plus, the proposed trade agreement between Pacific Islands Forum island countries and Australia and New Zealand will need to have its final terms established in October, the ministers and officials attending the ‘final’ meeting last week in Christchurch were told by Australia and NZ. Raising standards of living, creating jobs and encouraging sustainable development within our region are aspects of the plan which were made better known to trade officials last week. A package worth over Vt 600 million is involved. The agreement is described as a ‘landmark’ trade and development deal. New Zealand Trade Minister McClay said in a statement that all negotiations must be completed in October and the agreement signed in December. (Radio Vanuatu News)

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