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23 January 2018

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The Pacific Island countries have two major challenges, among others: (1) less natural resources to develop and generate income; (2) a growing population that the individual country is not able to cater for adequately.

Descending from the above two challenges, the Pacific countries needs very much support from other countries to meet some of their short and long-term needs. In that scenario, Australia and New Zealand were there in front most of the time providing much of the needed support.

While the Pacific countries are more exposed to the world, their aspirations and dreams also create more demands than how much their government would afford.

On the other hand, Australia and New Zealand also need to move away or into different ways of doing business with the Pacific countries. Now, the opportunity for Pacific countries to look elsewhere for support is becoming a reality.

That is when China became a convenient figure in the minds of the Pacific countries, not that they dislike Australia or New Zealand.

What the Australia Minister for International Development and Pacific denounced and criticized China for is not of China’s making but the nature of the two challenges faced by Pacific countries discussed above.

The Pacific casual labour mobility scheme is not the solution nor will help improve what the Minister has denounced but is a short-term measure.

There would be more that Australia and New Zealand could do to maintain the traditional leadership approach in the Pacific.....

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