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Pacific news in brief

Friday 23 December 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Regional


Pacific news in brief
Palau has supported Australia's bid to host COP31, alongside Pacific Island countries, in 2026. Photo: AFP / Mohamed Abdel Hamid / Anadolu Agency

December 23

Mayor admits he was wrong to suspend councillors

The suspension of three councillors in Vanuatu has been lifted and a reconciliation ceremony held at the Port Vila City Council.

The mayor, Steve Kiel, had banned councillors Eric Puyo-Festa, Marie Louise Milne, and Albert Sandy Daniel following advice he received from two legal practitioners, on the conduct of the three councillors in chambers.

But the Minister of Internal Affairs, Christophe Emelee, this week ordered that Kiel revoke the suspensions.

The Daily Post says the mayor stated during the reconciliation ceremony that he was in the wrong for doing what he did.

The newspaper says only one councillor was able to attended the ceremony but all three have accepted the move and apology.

FSM officials plead with Philippines to relax ban on migrant workers

Micronesian officials have renewed their appeal for the Philippine government to rescind its four-year-old ban on the deployment of Filipino workers.

Last week, Justice Secretary Joses Gallen met with Philippine labour officials in Manila to discuss the possible resumption of manpower support for the Federated States of Micronesia.

The Pacific Island Times says the Philippine Department of Migrant Workers has only said discussions between the governments remain positive.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration stopped sending workers to Micronesia in September 2018 due to mounting complaints of labour abuse by local employers.

Tourism numbers improving for New Caledonia

Tourism numbers in New Caledonia are at 68 percent of its pre-pandemic frequency.

The numbers in the Institute of Statistics and Economic study show the number of tourists in the territory since early 2022 is 24,600 tourists, almost double the number three months previously.

According to La Premiere, many returning tourists are New Zealanders.

The majority of tourists are still French, which make up 40 percent of arrivals.

Palau backs Australia bid to host COP31

Palau has supported Australia's bid to host COP31, alongside Pacific Island countries, in 2026.

Australia put its name forward earlier this year, but critics expressed consternation over its fossil fuels record.

Pacific News reports Palau's president saying it is about time the UN climate change conference is brought to the Pacific.

Australian Senator Penny Wong says they want to keep the world on track, to stay below the 1.5-degree temperature rise.

She says they accept they have to do more, but asked for patience, saying it takes time to change direction from an emission-intensive economy.

Battler of the year announced

A member of French Polynesia's Biosecurity Department has been named the 'Battler of the Year' by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

Hugo Oudart leads the development of biosecurity detector canine teams at the Faa'a International Airport, in charge of controlling international and inter-island arrivals via air.

It also has a team based at the commercial port in charge of ships, inter-island schooners and private sailboats.

The efforts aim to strengthen border control to avoid introduction of red fire ants, fruit flies, and other harmful invasive species.

Oudart said the work is far from over, but they are already seeing that the benefits French Polynesia will derive from the project will be much greater than initially imagined.

Patient medivacced from Niue

A patient from the Niue Covid isolation ward has been medivacced to New Zealand.

It's understood the patient has an underlying health condition and was hospitalised after testing positive for Covid 19, but the case was not recorded as a hospitalised case on the government's Covid dashboard.

Health officials confirmed to BCN News the air ambulance arrived last night to transport a critically ill patient to New Zealand.

The patient had recently tested positive.