Office of the Premier of Niue

Hon. Sir Toke Tufukia Talagi

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Title: Forum in Nauru
Issue Date: 11 September 2018
Issue by: Premier
Well that was interesting.

There was a bit of biff, a bit of dancing, and a bit of no change.

The Pacific Island Forum is stuck on first gear. It is much focused on continuing to do the same things. Add the Council of regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP) agencies and we have some very well-meaning people doing the same thing over and over again.

It’s climate change politics. It seems we’ve got to convince people and many don’t want to be bothered.

I wanted to focus more on money but didn’t get much joy.

I think they wanted that as well but only after getting everyone to do it our way. But the problem is that countries will agree to what they can manage. There are other factors which on balance and in the short term will not make them see it our way.

Therefore my view is to get them to give us money to help us mitigate and adapt.

Fisheries remains bogged down and were not sure if we can get any more from that vast rich resource. As I’ve said before, licences are not good for us. We need a good partner to provide surveillance and help stop illegal fishing. Either the Chinese, or the USA will have the capacity and support to help us. Add New Zealand, Australia and we have good security support. They appear to be willing as well.

Found it interesting and amusing to hear them talk about our small population. In fact we have a lot more if we add the visitors. Brings us 12,000 annually and we’ll off as well. So in comparison to Tuvalu or Nauru which have about 11,000 the difference is disposable income.

Nauru is a contradiction though and they do their own thing. It’s what they do I think.

Different folks, different strokes.

We had some good bilateral but nothing new. China, Japan, Cuba, India and Philippines. Short chat to new Foreign Affairs Minister of Australia Hon Marise Payne, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern and Rt Hon Winston Peters.

Ross Ardern was there and Jonathan Kings.

I suppose we’re comfortable with all of them really and quite good exchanges.

An idea we may try are to appoint young people as ambassadors for each country. Make them Learn about those countries.

Trade trading is now an integral part of schools and pupil are given these options at year 11. Might try those at home.

On Nauru itself, it makes money from phosphates still, refugee camp with the Australians and Taiwan spends a fair bit.

In many respects they are much better off financially than we are.

Like us though it is complex politically and tend to do things their way.