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Thursday, 26 October


Perspectives from a Recognised Seasonal Employer worker from the Solomon Islands "IndyWatch Feed"

This year saw more than 600 Solomon Islander workers participating in the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme, New Zealands equivalent to the Australian Seasonal Worker Program.

Below, Ann Cheffers interviews Florence about her experience as an RSE worker. Florence is a Solomon Islander who participated in the RSE scheme in 2014 and 2015. She is based in Honiara.

Can you tell me about yourself?

My name is Florence and I am part Isabel and part Russell Islands in Central Province. I am the first born in the family, there are 6 of us four boys and two girls. I am 36 years old and married, we have 2 boys who weve adopted, one is 7 years and the other 5 years.

How many times have you participated and what made you decide to participate in the scheme?

I have worked in NZ for two seasons in 2014 and 2015 but have not returned in the last two years despite being asked to. I found out about the RSE through my friend who had already been working for 7 seasons. When I applied, I was already working for a Sheet Steel company here in Honiara for some years. My partner didnt agree with my decision to go at first but my motive to travel out and work was because I was tired of depending on the company for everything.

What process did you have to go through?

The first part of the process was to fill out a form and lodge it with the Solomon Islands Department of Foreign Affairs. We had to list the reasons why we wanted to go. If you had a good job you werent likely to be chosen, mostly poor people who didnt have a good education or couldnt find good work were prioritised. Based on the applications the Department chose, the agents for the companies in New Zealand then had to further decide and contact the applicants for an interview. Once the agent, who was a Solomon Islander woman, chose me then she told me to prepare my passport and that she would call me again two months before we were due to travel, this is so we could undergo medical checks and other procedures.

Where did you go to in NZ and what work did you undertake?

For both seasons, I worked in Hawkes Bay as a pack house worker. There were 15 of us in the first season where 2 were part of quality control and one was a supervisor. There were 3 apple fruit graders including myself and the rest worked out picking on the farm.

Did you find that you were well prepared?

For me it was not my first time overseas. For others who travelled with me, they were more nervous but we went as a team and worked as a team. The agent really prepared...

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Wednesday, 25 October


Health security: part one "IndyWatch Feed"

A couple of weeks ago, the Foreign Minister announced the biggest aid initiative in her five years of presiding over the aid program. Endowed with $300 million over five years, the Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific Region dwarves the Ministers other big initiative, the innovationXchange, which was launched in 2015 with $140 million over four years.

Any enthusiasm that the Coalition government is doing something with the aid program other than cutting it should be tempered by a recognition of the fact this is not additional aid money. Some of it is simply a continuation of existing funding arrangements. To the extent that there is more money for health security, there will be less for the Rohingya crisis, or whatever other good cause you think the aid budget should be supporting. This is because there is no change to the overall aid budget, which, having already been cut in real terms by about a quarter by the Coalition, is slated for another 5% reduction over the next three years.

The announcement is good news for the health sector, but does raise questions about strategic coherence. Health spending has borne the brunt of aid cuts over the last few years. If we are so concerned about disease outbreaks, and if it is so important to build capacity and strengthen health systems, why did we cut aid health spending as much as we did?

While clearly, given the aggregate aid cuts, there had to be sectoral reductions, the aid program has not been cut across the board. From a sectoral perspective, we can divide aid spending into three broad categories: aid to promote good governance and growth; aid to support health and education; and everything else. As the graph below shows, aid for governance and growth has been protected under the Coalition. There is a small reduction after inflation between 2013-14 and 2017-18 of 5%. Everything else has been hit hard. Health and education have been cut by 38%. The residual other category, which covers humanitarian and environmental aid among others, has been cut by 40%.

Aid spending by major sectoral category


Monday, 23 October


Death of journalist sparks national debate about domestic violence "IndyWatch Feed"

With the country's outcry to claims of brutal Domestic Violence leading to the death of a prominent PNG Journalist, it is clear that PNG men and women by heart know that 'Our PNG Ways' is not one of domestice violence or any kind of violence for that matter. The 5th National Goal and Directive Principle in our Constitution promotes our 'PNG WAYS'. Stop the violence, that is not 'Our Model of Development'.

Source: The Guardian

Aunt uses eulogy to allege Rosalyn Albaniel Evara had been violently assaulted and to show graphic photos of the 41-year-olds bruised body

Rosalyn Albaniel Evara was a journalist for Papua New Guineas largest newspaper, the Post-Courier.


The death of a high-profile Papua New Guinean journalist at the age of 41 has sparked a national debate about the countrys continuing epidemic of violence against women, after graphic photographs were shown at her funeral.

Family members of Rosalyn Albaniel Evara, who was an editor at PNGs largest newspaper, have received support from the Port Moresby governor for their calls for a police investigation into her death.

Evara died last week after she collapsed at her Port Moresby home, and was rushed to hospital. The Post-Courier journalist was farewelled at a funeral in Port Moresby on Monday, where an aunt, Mary Albaniel, used her eulogy to allege Evara had been violently assaulted.

Albaniel, wearing a say no to violence T-shirt, showed photographs of her battered body and alleged a history of abuse.

When I heard that you died, I regretted that I should have done more than just talk to you, but how? said Albaniel.

She said they discovered the bruises when preparing Evaras body, and decided to take photos in the hope it may lead to criminal prosecution.

Albaniel told the Guardian she felt compelled to raise the allegations at the funeral, which was attended by Evaras husband.

Im using the same surname as the deceaseds maiden name. To continue advocating in my job as a defender of human rights would be useless if I cant get justice done,...

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