Seasonal worker scheme expands recruitment into remote communities as demand from NZ farmers grows

RSE scheme workers Philip Tasso (L) and James Iata (R) pick apples on a farm in Motueka, New Zealand. Photo: MFAT NZ

RSE scheme workers Philip Tasso and James Iata pick apples on a farm in Motueka, New Zealand. Photo: NZ MFAT

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Standing up to be counted: Women of Vanuatu demanding their place in the political life of the nation

Too often disenfranchised by culture… women voters during Vanuatu's 2016 General Election. Photo: Commonwealth Secretariat

Disenfranchised by culture… women voters during Vanuatu’s 2016 General Election. Photo: Commonwealth Secretariat

“Respect”, as Father Walter Lini famously said, “is honourable”. But despite the enormous social, economic and cultural contributions they make every day, Vanuatu’s women are rarely given the respect they deserve; they continue to be shut out of political life. And yet, as the scandals of the last 12 months have shown, Vanuatu urgently needs better, more representative political leadership. Vanuatu’s full potential can only be realized when it has a gender-balanced leadership that includes, respects and values the enriching perspectives that women bring to political life. Today, on International Womens’ Day, we bring you the powerful story of a Vanuatu woman leader’s journey as she stands up for the right to take part in politics.

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Is diversity of political representation possible in Vanuatu?

By Anna Naupa and Nick Howlett

Part 2 of a 3-part series on Vanuatu’s Electoral Integrity
Vanuatu’s women deserve better political representation. Source: Vanuatu Department of Women’s Affairs

Vanuatu’s women deserve better political representation. Photo: Vanuatu Department of Women’s Affairs

< Read Part 1: ‘Ghostbusters: it’s time to deal with Vanuatu’s phantom voters’

Read Part 3: ‘Is dual citizenship a threat to Vanuatu? No, but unregulated political financing is’ >

VANUATU’S NATIONAL ELECTIONS give citizens the opportunity to shape the nation’s future through their choice of political representation. Electoral boundaries and the total number of constituencies have shifted over the years in response to demographic changes. A recent media report suggested that electorates will be again be modified sometime before 2020. Today, there are 52 seats in the national parliament, with MPs drawn from most of Vanuatu’s different islands.

However, this seeming diversity masks the lack of representation of different demographic groupings within Parliament: women, young people, people with disability, religious minorities and other groups that are not part of the mostly male political elite are effectively excluded. The omission of a significant proportion of the population disadvantages Vanuatu’s national development, because their contributions and needs are left out of the political debate. Read the rest of this entry »

Breaking news: Vanuatu named number one country, for the second year running…

…as the country facing the greatest risk of natural disaster, says the United Nations’ University’s 2012 World Risk Report.

Radio Australia reports on the latest UN University report, which considers both the potential power of natural disasters together with socio-economic risk.

We should all take this very seriously. But on the positive side, the report found that community self-sufficiency on remote islands is a huge advantage for disaster risk reduction efforts.

Key quote from the Radio Australia story:

“…The role of women in protecting and rebuilding their communities often goes unrecognised, and so the theme of this year’s International Day for Disaster Reduction — ‘Invisible Force of Resilience’ — is intended to highlight how women’s ability to contribute is sometimes hindered by lack of inclusion in public life.

Women and girls are up to 14 times more likely to die during a disaster and that’s often purely the result of inadequate access to education and awareness messages… it’s very important to try and change that.”

Get the full report here.

Public Prosecutor’s Office abandons case against Tongan and Samoan over Phocea citizenship fraud

Both VBTC Radio News and Daily Post give prominence today to the abandonment by the Prosecution of any illegal citizenship case against the Tongan and Samoan associated with the yacht Phocea. The Prosecution presented significant evidence of flagrant irregularities in the Citizenship Commission but were questioned over their intention to use the evidence of a third person accused in the matter, a ni-Vanuatu who had pleaded guilty. He is to appear in court tomorrow for sentencing. The Prosecution then immediately abandoned the case, having failed to establish any wrongdoing on the part of the Polynesian defendants.

The Director of the Department of Women’s Affairs, Dorosday Kenneth, says good leadership essential in making proper use of a large regional Australian fund to promote gender equality, says VBTC News. A$320 million was Read the rest of this entry »