Happy International Happiness Day!

Photo: Graham Crumb/Imagicity.com

Photo: Graham Crumb/Imagicity.com

Today is International Happiness Day. Why are we pleasantly concerned? Remember when Vanuatu was top of the Happy Planet Index back in 2006, before long haul airports taking over grazing land at Teouma and crumbling airstrips at Bauerfield, million vatu bribery charges and the sacking of Parliament. That one just had to go and we are all glad because it has. And we’ve got a new one. AND it meets in proper debate tomorrow for the first time! Hooray!!! We are happy!!!!!

Your editor asked Jamie Tanguay from the Vanuatu National Statistics Office to tell us a bit more about happiness in Vanuatu today. He said: Read the rest of this entry »


Ghostbusters: it’s time to deal with Vanuatu’s phantom voters

By Anna Naupa and Nick Howlett

Part 1 of a 3-part series on Vanuatu’s Electoral Integrity

Read Part 2: ‘Is diversity of political representation possible in Vanuatu?’ >
Read Part 3: ‘Is dual citizenship a threat to Vanuatu? No, but unregulated political financing is’ >
When Vanuatu goes to the polls on 22 January, 2016, an estimated 2,000 ni-Vanuatu youth, and several hundred recently naturalized adult citizens, will be denied a vote due to the impossibly short deadline for voter registration. Not only is this a denial of the democratic right to vote, it highlights the inaccuracy of Vanuatu’s electoral roll.

In Vanuatu’s 2012 General Election, an estimated 55,000 dead people were included on the electoral roll as eligible voters, about 140% more voters than official census data says there should be. This article suggests a simple and cost-effective way of ensuring the integrity of Vanuatu’s electoral roll so these ‘phantom voters’ don’t come back to haunt us. Read the rest of this entry »

How healthy is our society?

A new documentary, ‘Well-Being in Vanuatu’, has just been released. It highlights key findings from a pilot study on ni-Vanuatu well-being conducted between 2010-2012 by the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs and the Vanuatu National Statistics Office.

The documentary asks questions about how we currently define ourselves as a country — how do we measure how well we are doing collectively, as a society? Do we use western methods that measure mostly economic criteria, or do we use other measurements that are more relevant to the way we actually live our lives in Vanuatu?

The study is part of the ‘Alternative Indicators of Well-Being for Melanesia’ project, endorsed by the Melanesian Spearhead Group and due to roll out in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji in 2013.