• Matthew Dornan takes a look  at Fiji’s 2016 budget. He notes that while the overall economic situation in Fiji is sound, the major policy reversals and long list of ad hoc revenue decisions in the budget 'undermine the government’s economic management credibility'.
  • Remittances costs from Australia to Vanuatu topped the list of highest remittance cost corridors in 2015, according to a recent report from the World Bank. More than 20% of every A$200 sent from Australia to Vanuatu is taken up in fees.
  • French Polynesia has signed a deal  with a Chinese consortium to construct a massive US$2 billion tourism project on Tahiti that is expected to create over 10,000 jobs.
  • The Ok Tedi mine, which has been closed since August due to drought conditions and low copper prices, has announced  a complete restructuring once the mine reopens, switching operations to a ‘fly in-fly out’ model. This will have a big impact on local employment and the company township Tabubil, where the school will close.
  • Radio New Zealand’s Johnny Blades has conducted an in depth analysis of the cultural, economic and political impacts of the porous border between PNG and West Papua.
  • Sticking with West Papua, the recent resignation of Indonesian Speaker Setya Novanto over allegations that he demanded a $4 billion stake in Freeport’s Gasberg mine, the country’s largest, reflects how important the state is to Indonesia.
  • The World Bank has launched a new report on the potential for an ICT revolution to generate more than 10,000 jobs in the Pacific. Pacific Beat has a summary.
  • The latest in the World Bank’s Praxis Pacific series is a panel discussion on the opportunities and challenges of renewable energy in the Pacific. Radio NZ has a summary, and the full video is below:

 

Holiday reading

  • Simon Winchester has released a book detailing the history and future of the Pacific, the ‘Ocean of the future’. The New York Times has a review of the book here and you can listen to an interview with the author below.

 

  •  The ANU released a book this month detailing the fundamental shift that has taken place in recent years in the way that the Pacific Island states engage with regional and world politics. The 21 chapters come from a range of authors including President of Kiribati Anote Tong, former PNG PM Michael Somare, and PIFS Secretary Meg Taylor.
  • For a more personal account of the Pacific check out ‘Inside the Crocodile’, where Trish Nicholson details five years of development work in PNG’s West Sepik. Tess Newton Cain has reviewed the book on Devpolicy, while Gordon Peake has done the same for Fairfax.