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In brief: News from around the Pacific

Friday 24 December 2021 | Written by RNZ | Published in


In brief: News from around the Pacific
Image/ RNZ

Fiji has started providing Covid-19 booster doses for all eligible adults.

Fiji's Health Ministry said all individuals aged 18 years and above are now are eligible to receive the Moderna Covid-19 booster.

All adults can receive the booster after receiving their initial two doses of the Covid-19 vaccines at least five months ago.

The ministry encouraged any adults who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and kidney disease to get the booster.

The eligible adults in the island nation are also expected to receive Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines in January next year which have been approved for use as booster doses for the adult population.

A total of 91.8 percent of the adult target population in Fiji have been fully vaccinated, while 97.7 percent have received one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

NZ encourages all parties to participate peacefully and constructively in New Caledonia's post-referendum transition

New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister said New Zealand supports the right of all peoples to self-determination, as expressed under international law.

Nanaia Mahuta welcomed that the referendum process to determine the future status of New Caledonia was calm and secure.

She said Aotearoa New Zealand now encourages all parties to participate peacefully and constructively in the post-referendum transition process in the spirit of the Noumea Accord.

The Minister said it is important to Aotearoa New Zealand that the rights of indigenous peoples are respected and recognised.

She said France remains an important like-minded partner for Aotearoa New Zealand in the region and globally.

Manhunt for cults in PNG

Papua New Guinea Police have launched a massive manhunt for a notorious cult group that has been terrorising villagers in the Rai Coast for the past few weeks.

The cult members are wanted for kidnappings, murders and robberies.

The National reports the manhunt is led by Madang commander acting Supt Mazuc Rubiang who was flown there in a helicopter with about 20 men on Sunday.

After assessing the security situation and gathering intelligence, Mr Rubing requested assistance from his Northern counterparts who arrived Tuesday.

Ombudsman recommends removal of Vanuatu Minister

Vanuatu's Ombudsman has recommended the prime minister remove MP Bruno Leingkon as the Minister of Climate Change, to maintain the integrity of the Office and the government.

Mr Leingkon was ordered by the Supreme Court in July to pay a fine of 2,600 dollars and carry out 120 hours of community work for breaching civil aviation rules.

Bruno Leingkon outside the Port Vila court house, July 2021.
Bruno Leingkon outside the Port Vila court house, July 2021. Photo: Hilaire Bule

The recommendation was one of two in a report on Mr Leingkon breaching the Leadership Code Act and the Ombudsman Act.

The Prime Minister's Office told the Daily Post the prime minister will not make any change as recommended by the Ombudsman.

However, if the court makes a decision on any legal proceedings that proves breaches to the two Acts by Mr Leingkon, it will determine the steps the government will take to act on the recommendations.

In a second report, the Ombudsman's Office looked at the suspension of the maritime regulator Hickson Siba by the Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utilities Jay Ngwele.

The Minister suspended Mr Siba in April this year before an independent inquiry was estabslished.

The Ombudsman's report found Mr Ngwele had breached the Leadership Code Act for failure to comply and observe the law; and for influencing and exerting pressure on the maritime regulator for carrying out his lawful duty under the Maritime Sector Regulator Act.

The report said the suspension of the Maritime Regulator was unlawful and that Mr Ngwele had breached the Leadership Code Act.