Vanuatu and France to hold border talks

Bathymetric map showing the boundary of the New Hebrides tectonic plate and the Australian plate. Matthew and Hunter sit on the New Hebrides plate, while New Caledonia sits on the Australian plate.

Bathymetric map showing the boundary of the New Hebrides tectonic plate and the Australian plate. Matthew and Hunter sit on the New Hebrides plate, while New Caledonia sits on the Australian plate.

Hunter Island

Hunter Island

The big outstanding issue with France — Matthew and Hunter Islands — is soon to be the subject of discussion in border talks which will take place at the Forum Fisheries Agency in Honiara. PM Charlot Salwai revealed this after the PM had held discussions with the French Minister of Overseas Territories, Annick Girardin, in Apia at the Pacific Islands Forum Leader’s meeting earlier this month. The border talks will be held in October. Vanuatu requires that the Ocean Policy covering climate and other issues be consulted as regional issues. Despite this, France and Fiji have already signed a border treaty without Vanuatu. Such a treaty will also be necessary between Fiji and Vanuatu.

Matthew Island

Matthew Island

PM Salwai pointed out that France was aware of Vanuatu’s Independence from 1980, and he said that Vanuatu should have been consulted when Fiji and France signed their border agreement. “This is why Vanuatu continues to dispute France’s claims and the treaty with Fiji. There are geographical reasons, cultural and traditional reasons it has in line with Melanesian spirit, Melanesian culture. We have the word of the Kanaks and senators of New Caledonia who expressed support for our positions last year”, said the Prime Minister. He mentioned two times this year when his government had taken up the issue with Paris — in January — and at MSG meetings. PM Salwai hoped the issue could be broached in this year’s United Nations General Assembly beginning in a few days.

The Supreme Court has dismissed a claim by Read the rest of this entry »


Vanuatu Revenue Review report cites Vt 5 billion Govt revenue shortfall

10000 vatu note

The official handover of the Vanuatu Revenue Review final report looking into reform and modernisation, yesterday, has resulted in excellent coverage in last weekend’s media. Those most closely involved are pleased with the work undertaken. From the Report will be drawn conclusions concerning income tax, and the report makes it abundantly clear, as does the Report, that Government Revenue does not meet the billions required of it. Minister Pikioune sees a revenue shortfall presently of Vt 5 billion. Other Government sources put the figure closer to Vt 2 billion. But a shortfall means something surely has to be done.

Finance Minister Pikioune was presented with Read the rest of this entry »

Govt says kava exports have rebounded by 345% since Cyclone Pam

Director of Biosecurity Vanuatu Timothy Tumukon reveals that total kava exports for 2015 were valued at just Vt 180 million because of Cyclone Pam. However, in the year following Cyclone Pam, kava export sales soared to Vt 800 million. Monday was the second anniversary of Cyclone Pam’s destruction. Government is helping farmers to plant the best noble varieties for their areas and the rules for product preparation for the international market are being taught.

UMP is seeking a reconciliation between what are understood to be only two factions within the Union of Moderate Parties on Tanna today. Ishmael Kalsakau (Leader of the Opposition) allegedly Read the rest of this entry »

Customs Dept requests roadworthiness compliance extension for older vehicles

A public transport bus passes by Port Vila market house. Photo © Vanuatu Digest

The Customs Department is asking for an extension to the payment period for road tax. Since 31 March is currently the legal deadline, the end of June is being requested. Cyclone Pam enabled a similar extension, and Customs being a Government service one would imagine it is all likely to Read the rest of this entry »

Tanna kastom shines on the Oscars red carpet

Red carpet kastom – directors and cast of Tanna at last night's Academy Awards in Los Angeles, USA. Photo: @tannamovie/Twitter

Red carpet kastom – directors and cast of Tanna at the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, California USA last night. Photo: @tannamovie/Twitter

Just to have been nominated for an Oscar is still something to celebrate even if Tanna did not win the foreign language film winning category. Iranian film The Salesman has won the category. Nevertheless it generated enough excitement to have a powerful kastom dance from Tanna take over the foyer of the National Convention Centre in Port Vila during live streaming of the Oscars ceremony here yesterday afternoon, where Tanna stars Dain and Wawa were guests of honour. Dain told Len Garae of Daily Post he “never dreamed the movie would make it to Port Vila let alone as far as Hollywood”.

A different kind of Vanuatu matter has also received media coverage in the United States — Read the rest of this entry »

Australia set to relax restrictions on Vanuatu kava imports

Australia to allow Vanuatu kava imports again

The big news today is very good news: Australia eases kava restriction, Read the rest of this entry »

Vanuatu kava export quality gets big boost from amended Kava Act

Vanuatu's noble kava varieties

Vanuatu’s noble kava varieties

Amendments to the Kava Act are now gazetted. The Acting DG of Agriculture, Timothy Tumukon, is reported as saying “First and foremost the amendment will be used to clean up the kava export industry especially since there has been extensive media coverage of kava exports in the recent past.” Daily Post reports him saying there were issues involving kava quality as well as individuals who trade the product overseas. Vanuatu Daily Digest is committed to assisting Vanuatu’s noble varieties of kava achieve the international recognition they merit.

“We have pinned our hope on this amendment to be able to Read the rest of this entry »