Pacific Islands

Pacific community come out in force during Covid-19 testing

At a news conference for Pacific media on Friday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the director-general of health, Ashley Bloomfield, paid tribute to the community for the way it had responded to the call to get tested.

"That's a 23.2 percentage of testing for Pacific people and of course New Zealand's Pacific population is less than half that," Ardern said.

That could be seen in the long queues that had formed at testing centres right across Auckland's south in the past week, with queues that had stretched for kilometres down roads.

Covid threatens construction timeline for 2023 Pacific Games

A number of projects funded by the Chinese government were scheduled to get underway this year, including the construction of a new national stadium in Honiara, while the Indonesian government had indicated the multi-purpose hall could be completed by the end of next year.

But the on-going effects of Covid-19 were beginning to bite, with design teams from China still unable to get on the ground.

Pacific artists unite against Covid-19

The virtual concert is a first-of-its-kind in the Pacific and calls on leaders and citizens across the region to work together with the rest of the world in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last weekend, the United Nations in the Pacific brought together artists, heads of State, UN leaders and international celebrities - even royalty - to the event which was broadcast and streamed around the Pacific.

Pacific pharmacists reaching out to communities during lockdown

The Pacific Pharmacists Association is a pharmaceutical workforce that aims to meet the health needs of Pacific people in accordance with their culture, custom and heritage.

Auckland is currently on alert level three, while the rest of New Zealand is on alert level two. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said the settings would be reviewed on 21 August.

Mental health support for Pasifika receives funding

Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa recently announced a $NZ1.5 million boost to grow primary mental health and addiction services for Pacific peoples in Auckland, Hamilton and Canterbury.

K'Aute Pasifika Trust in Hamilton, which provided services for children and young people, and a day programme for adults, received funding to grow its services.

Chief Executive Leaupepe Rachel Karalus said the funding would make a significant impact now as there was increased anxiety among Pacific children and young people the last time New Zealand was in lockdown.

'Pacific neighbours in far greater need' of travel bubble - specialist workers

Auckland Airport said it would physically divide operations to allow unrestricted travel to and from the Covid-free Cook Islands. Wellington Airport also said it could segregate flyers.

But the government here is exercising caution, frustrating specialist workers with contracts and commitments in Pacific Island countries.

NZ makes new Pacific diplomatic appointments

Helen Tunnah, who currently works in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Covid-19 response team, has been posted to Niue, having previously worked in Vanuatu and Brazil.

Richard Griffith will be High Commissioner to Nauru, but based in Wellington.

He has previously been posted to Solomon Islands and Australia.

     

Pacific airlines holding out for NZ and Australia to reopen

George Faktaufon said Pacific airlines are not going to be able to count on national government support for handouts to keep them afloat, and the clock is already ticking for some airlines.

"It's very hard to plan for something that you are not quite sure when it's going to happen, because we have always planned for something that is certain, but the plan is depending on when Australia and New Zealand are opening up," he said.

     

COVID-19 and its likely impact on the tuna industry in the Pacific Islands

Approximately 60 percent of the raw material for the global tuna canning market comes from the WCPO. There are two reasons why COVID-19’s impact on the tuna industry should be monitored.

First, shelf-stable foods, such as canned tuna, have taken on a new level of significance for food security. Second, Pacific island countries are dependent on revenues from the licensing of fishing vessels.

US increases support for Pacific Covid-19 response by over $32m

The bulk of the funds will go to its Freely Associated States with Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau receiving over $US27.5-million from various federal agencies.

Other Pacific countries will receive a combined total of $US3.3-million from USAID while Papua New Guinea will get a separate $US1.2-million.

The funding announced late last week is on top of the more than $US32-million already committed by Washington since the start of the pandemic.