As governments in the region struggle with troubling debt burdens, Nik Soni reminds us that we have been here before and risk making the same mistakes of the past. History shows that the externally driven ideology of 'Trump-esque angry white men with the strategic foresight of a goldfish' will not work. The overly simplistic austerity mantra of more taxes, less spending and selling off state assets needs to be tempered with an open conversation about the problem, increasing revenue compliance, debt re-financing and drawing on the technical skills that exist within our region.
The Government of Vanuatu is undertaking a revenue review, and some in the business community are concerned this may lead to the introduction of personal and corporate income tax. As we await the report of the government's revenue task force, and in the absence of rigorous independent analysis, the conversation remains steeped in hearsay and the advocacy positions of various interest groups. In this piece, Derek Brien and Nikunj Soni highlight some of the issues that need further consideration so that there can be an informed national conversation about tax.
There are widespread reports from Papua New Guinea of budgetary difficulties, from budget cuts to church health services to government salary payment delays. Why? In this article (originally published on Devpolicy blog), Stephen Howes outlines what is causing the problem.
We need to start a more nuanced discussion on migration in this part of the world given the global discourse on this topic. Here Giff Johnson considers the issues from a north Pacific perspective, highlighting the little considered role of veterans returning to serve their own countries after years in the US military.
The Pacific is still struggling to get women into parliaments across the region. Mary Jack Kaviamu recently contested the 2016 Vanuatu national snap election in the Tanna open constituency. Although she failed to secure a seat, she clearly hasn't given up. For Mary and her supporters, the journey has just begun. Here she relays her experience, particularly the challenges encountered on the way.
Many people are commenting online on the impacts of decisions taken by the current Papua New Guinea government, with many expressing their feelings about a looming fiscal crisis. Dulciana Somare-Brash provides a raw assessment of the situation, saying the country will need more than a new crop of freshly elected leaders in 2017.