Micronesians to quit Pacific Forum after close vote to decide new secretary-general

Micronesian members are to leave the Pacific Forum after an angry contest to select a new secretary-general, leaving the 50-year-old organisation in crisis.

Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Palau say there was an informal agreement to appoint one of theirs to the post.

They say there was a convention to rotate leadership, till now restricted to southern leaders, to the north. There is also a sense that the northerners don’t enjoy the same levels of contact and respect with Canberra and Wellington.

Forum leaders selected Henry Puna, former Cook Islands premier, to succeed Papua-New Guinea’s Dame Meg Taylor, whose term ends this month.   Puna defeated Micronesia’s Gerald Zackious, the Marshall Islands ambassador to the United States, by nine votes to eight.  Had competence been the sole deciding factor, Zakios was by far the best candidate. Continue reading “Micronesians to quit Pacific Forum after close vote to decide new secretary-general”

Peters and partnership in the Pacific: an issue which gelled with Aust policy-makers

Foreign Minister Winston Peters  didn’t have much  luck when he  visited  Canberra  for  his  six-monthly  talks with his  Australian counterpart,  Julie Bishop.  Peters  was  no  sooner winging  his way homewards  when Bishop was  gone from  her ministry and finding a seat somewhere  in the distant back benches  of the Liberal Party, a victim of  the Turnbull massacre.

And  Peters’  message   on the Australian government’s  treatment of Kiwis being deported, although not yet found guilty of crimes in an Australian court of law,   also echoed  hollowly  in the  hallways  of  the Federal Parliament.

But there  was  one line from  NZ’s  Foreign  Minister  which did  resonate   among key policy-makers  in  Canberra.  It  was this: Continue reading “Peters and partnership in the Pacific: an issue which gelled with Aust policy-makers”