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Globalisation and Governance in the Pacific Islands

Globalisation and Governance in the Pacific Islands: State, Society and Governance in Melanesia

Copyright Date: 2006
Published by: ANU Press
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    Globalisation and Governance in the Pacific Islands
    Book Description:

    The Pacific Islands are feeling the effects of globalisation. Free trade in sugar and garments is threatening two of Fiji’s key industries. At the same time other opportunities are emerging. Labour migration is growing in importance, and Pacific governments are calling for more access to Australia’s labour market. Fiji has joined Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Kiribati as a remittance economy, with thousands of its citizens working overseas. Meantime, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands grapple with an older kind of globalisation in which overseas companies exploit mineral and forest resources. The Pacific Islands confront unique problems of governance in this era of globalisation. The modern, democratic state often fits awkwardly with traditional ways of doing politics in that part of the world. Just as often, politicians in the Pacific exploit tradition or invent it to serve modern political purposes. The contributors to this volume examine Pacific globalisation and governance from a wide range of perspectives. They come from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Hawai’i, the Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand and Jamaica as well as Australia.

    eISBN: 978-1-920942-98-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)
    Stewart Firth

    The State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Project at the Australian National University organised a conference on globalisation and governance in the Pacific Islands in October 2005, and this volume brings together the papers delivered by the participants, who came from Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands, Fiji, Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Hawai’i, New Zealand and Jamaica as well as from within Australia. The conference, held in Old Canberra House over three days, was generously supported by funding from the Australian Government through AusAID.

    The aim of the conference was twofold.

    First, we sought to explore the...

  5. 1. Keynote Address — From Neo-Liberalism to the New Medievalism
    (pp. 7-22)
    John Rapley

    In the autumn of 1950, a young man, the son of refugees from Nazi Germany, enrolled in the economics program at the University of Chicago. Chicago’s department of economics was an unusual place in those days. Ever since the publication of John Maynard Keynes’General Theoryin 1936, Keynesian economics — with its stress on the use of state intervention to manage economic development — had become more or less orthodoxy. Chicago stood against this trend, becoming something of a refuge for neoclassical economists. Neoclassical economics, with its faith in free markets, minimalist government and the ability of mathematical models to explain...

  6. 2. Treading Water in Rapids? Non-Governmental Organisations and Resistance to Neo-Liberalism in Pacific Island States
    (pp. 23-42)
    Claire Slatter

    In the current new world order of neo-liberalism, civil society organisations have emerged as an important countervailing force to the power of multilateral institutions and transnational corporations, and as watchdogs on states. The global movement against neo-liberalism and its manifestation in economic and trade liberalisation is an unprecedented international resistance movement comprising a broad range of civil society organisations, social movements, development NGOs and public interest groups opposed to the ideological, economic and political forces that have been reshaping the world in the past 16 or so years with devastating impacts on the lives of millions of people, and the...

  7. 3. Regionalism and Cultural Identity: Putting the Pacific back into the plan
    (pp. 43-58)
    Elise Huffer

    In April 2004, the Pacific Islands Forum leaders issued theAuckland Declaration,paving the way for the design of a Pacific Plan for Strengthening Regional Cooperation and Integration. The plan is part of a process of reform officially launched through the endorsement at the 2003 Forum Leaders’ meeting of New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark’s, request, as chair of the forum, to review the ‘forum’s role, functions and Secretariat’. An Eminent Persons’ Group (EPG) was set up and, after region-wide consultations, it drafted a review, entitledPacific Cooperation: Views of the Region,in which it recommended the endorsement by Pacific...

  8. Labour Migration

    • 4. Migration, Dependency and Inequality in the Pacific: Old Wine in Bigger Bottles? (Part 1)
      (pp. 59-80)
      John Connell

      A quarter of a century ago, I wrote a paper whose title was the first part of that above (Connell 1980), which sought to provide an overview of the complex relationship between migration, remittances and rural development in the region, and largely concluded that this had been negative for the sending regions. The conclusion stated that ‘remittances on the smaller islands tend to foster dependence rather than inequality; on the largest islands they generate inequality rather than dependence. But both trends are ubiquitous’ (1980: 51). Such sweeping conclusions, centred on dependency theory, were not without criticism (e.g., Hayes 1991). Given...

    • 5. Migration, Dependency and Inequality in the Pacific: Old Wine in Bigger Bottles? (Part 2)
      (pp. 81-106)
      John Connell

      The proportion of skilled and highly skilled Pacific Islanders among all migrants is increasing, as a result of shortages in the receiving countries, some of which — as in New Zealand and the USA — have led to private sector recruitment in the Pacific Islands. Low remuneration, poor promotion opportunities, limited training and further educational opportunities, poor working and living conditions, particularly in remote regions, are push factors for skilled migrants. The growing shortage of skilled workers has also contributed to increased intra-Pacific migration, with workers migrating to countries offering better work conditions and salaries, such as Fijian nurses and teachers migrating...

    • 6. Globalisation, New Labour Migration and Development in Fiji
      (pp. 107-120)
      Manoranjan Mohanty

      Globalisation and migration are the two predominant and intertwined phenomena in the world today. Human mobility has become an integral part of the global economy. Since the early 1990s, the world has been witnessing a rapid process of internationalisation of capital, technology and economic activities. Global corporate activities through multinational and transnational corporations have grown rapidly. Trade and financial liberalisation is increasingly pronounced. The growth of mass media along with the development in transport and communication technologies and the free flow of information are leading to a rapidly ‘shrinking world’. It is now an interconnected ‘one world’, whose economies, societies...

    • 7. ‘Tonga Only Wants Our Money’: The children of Tongan migrants
      (pp. 121-136)
      Helen Lee

      This statement, from a member of the second generation of Tongans in the USA, eloquently captures the key issues to be addressed in this chapter. Richard Wolfgramm is the publisher of a bimonthly English-language magazine for Tongans,Ano Masima News,based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Although he has been relatively successful, he readily admits that he does not send remittances to Tonga, partly because he has no family there whom he feels obligated to support, but also because the demands of participating in his local Tongan community are high. His statement reflects the views of many second-generation Tongans in...

    • 8. Labour Mobility in the Pacific: Creating seasonal work programs in Australia
      (pp. 137-172)
      Nic Maclellan and Peter Mares

      Australia has long benefited from the labour of working people from the Pacific Islands, from the Kanakas who helped build the Queensland sugar industry in the 19th century, to women today, sewing Country Road shirts for a dollar an hour in a Fiji garment factory.

      Pacific workers today are international and mobile: i-Kiribati and Tuvaluan seafarers staff the global shipping trade; Samoan and Tongan labourers work in factories and building sites in Sydney and Auckland or pick fruit in Australia’s Murray Valley (often as ‘illegal’ or undocumented workers); more than 1,000 Fijians work in Iraq and Kuwait as security guards,...

    • 9. Contemporary Migration Within the Pacific Islands: The case of Fijian skilled workers in Kiribati and Marshall Islands
      (pp. 173-186)
      Avelina Rokoduru

      Contemporary skilled migration from Fiji to other Pacific Island countries began in the early 1980s and has continued since. There are Fijian citizens who work as domestic help as well as in the hotel industry in Cook Islands, and there are nurses, teachers, doctors, lawyers, pilots, mechanics, electricians and technicians in the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Vanuatu. With the coming of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands in 2003, we have seen policemen and women moving to Solomon Islands. What is more, the trend is likely to continue if the Pacific Plan, which envisages...


    • 10. Fiji: Sugar and sweatshirts, migrants and remittances
      (pp. 189-216)
      Kate Hannan

      There is general agreement that the Fiji economy is moving towards a particularly difficult period. It is recognised that the negative effects on Fiji’s sugar and garment industries flowing from the promotion of free trade in our globalised world are resulting in an ever-more challenging economic and social environment that requires careful, fair, innovative and, above all, prompt and effective planning responses. WTO pressure on the EU to end agricultural subsidies and the end of the Multi-Fibre Arrangement (MFA) without its replacement by alternative measures that would serve to apportion quotas for clothing, footwear and textile markets in the USA...

    • 11. End of the Line? Globalisation and Fiji’s Garment Industry
      (pp. 217-236)
      Donovan Storey

      The Fijian garment industry has had a short and often turbulent history. A product of the post-1987 coup strategy of export-led economic development coupled with key preferential trading arrangements, it experienced a dramatic early growth. The industry rapidly became a critical part of the economic structure of Fiji, often surpassing sugar as the number-one export sector. Immediately before the 2000 coup, about 105 factories were employing 18,000 to 20,000 workers and were exporting more than $F300 million in garments to Australia, the USA, Europe and New Zealand. This accounted for an estimated 28 per cent of local weekly waged employment...


    • 12. Global Capital and Local Ownership in Solomon Islands’ Forestry Industry
      (pp. 239-258)
      Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka

      As humanity ventures further into the 21st century, we are constantly being reminded of how global forms and processes have reached even the most remote corners of the world. This is what, in contemporary mantra, is referred to as ‘globalisation’ — the term used to describe the increasing integration of global communities.

      In the past decade there has been considerable inquiry into the origins, nature and impact of globalisation, and the threats and opportunities it offers. Even its most resolute critics would admit that the forms and processes that encompass globalisation have reached even the most isolated corners of the globe....

    • 13. Mining, Social Change and Corporate Social Responsibility: Drawing lines in the Papua New Guinea mud
      (pp. 259-274)
      Glenn Banks

      The Pacific Islands have been the focus of international academic and policy ‘concern’ in the past decade. Much of this has centred on the issue of governance, with examples such as PNG, Fiji and the Solomon Islands used to support arguments of state failures and a regional crisis of governance (see, for example, Larmour 1998; Hughes 2004). There is a tendency to see ‘state failure’ in these cases as an internal issue (that is, due to internal problems of governance), although this is obviously questioned by the prevalence of the problem across the region. Indeed it is surprising how little...

    • 14. The ‘Resource Curse’ and Governance: A Papua New Guinean perspective
      (pp. 275-286)
      Mel Togolo

      In discussing what has become known as ‘the resource curse’ one is confronted with two predominant views about the impacts of mineral and petroleum extraction on a national economy.

      The conventional wisdom is that mineral resource developments can add value to the economy of a mineral-rich country. The principal effects of such developments are that they provide revenue to a host government through taxation and royalty payments, and they generate income and wealth for individuals and companies through the many financial transactions involved in the development process. In some sense this is certainly true for PNG, as the economy has...


    • 15. Keynote Address — Governance in Fiji: The interplay between indigenous tradition, culture and politics
      (pp. 289-296)
      Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi

      Commentators and observers alike have long decried the ethnic nature of politics in Fiji. It is seen as an obstacle to the creation of a more unified and cohesive society. Those concerns are well taken, however, the forces of history cast a long shadow over the present. For indigenous Fijians there is a constant struggle between embracing other communities and maintaining a distinct and separate identity. There is ambivalence about compromise. It is feared something is indelibly lost in that process. Fijian unity as an ideal is extolled and valued because it is perceived as the only way Fijians believe...

    • 16. The State of the State in Fiji: Some failings in the periphery
      (pp. 297-316)
      Vijay Naidu

      The State in Fiji has sought to exert control and manage an increasingly difficult external and internal environment and has consequently undergone a transformation that has affected its capacities to mediate change and reproduce Fijian society and economy. On the one hand, there are powerful forces of globalisation that the State has limited control over, and, on the other hand, within the country, there are fissiparous tendencies that have changed the nature of society and state. Fiji’s membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) requires compliance with rules based on a neo-liberal notion of free trade which means the loss...

    • 17. Power Sharing in Fiji and New Caledonia
      (pp. 317-348)
      Jon Fraenkel

      Fiji and New Caledonia adopted mandatory power-sharing institutions in an effort to mitigate conflict in the late 1990s. Both are bipolar polities, where politics has revolved around the conflicting objectives of substantial indigenous and migrant or migrant-descended groups. Both experienced severe conflict during the 1980s, culminating in a military coup in Fiji in 1987 and more than 50 people killed in New Caledonia in the 1980s. Both countries subsequently settled on compacts aimed at resolving those conflicts (the 1997 Constitution in Fiji and the 1988 Matignon and 1998 Noumea Accords in New Caledonia). Whereas Fiji witnessed a second coup only...

    • 18. More Than 20 Years of Political Stability in Samoa under the Human Rights Protection Party
      (pp. 349-362)
      Asofou So’o

      Except for a short time in 1982 and during the time of the Coalition Government in 1986–87, the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) has run Samoa since 1982. Among the attributes of HRPP rule in that time has been its ability to maintain political stability in the country. This chapter argues that a combination of factors contributed to political stability during the period of HRPP rule from 1982 to the present (2006) and that the HRPP has been successful in managing these factors to its political advantage. They include the distinct manner in which the country’s constitution has made...

    • 19. Matai Titles and Modern Corruption in Samoa: Costs, expectations and consequences for families and society
      (pp. 363-372)
      A. Morgan Tuimaleali’ifano

      On a bright October Saturday morning in 2005, I could make out his outline in front of the R. C. Manubhai hardware store in Raiwaqa, Suva. Desmond Dutta was a Fiji-born Samoan who had left Fiji almost 20 years ago. His father was an Indo-Fijian and his mother a Samoan of Chinese ancestry. We first met in Fiji in the mid-1980s while I was doing fieldwork in Fiji’s minority communities. Proud of his Samoan heritage, Dutta frequently discussed with me his desire to retrace his mother’s family.¹ These topics were the focus of our regular Friday afternoon discussions at the...


    • 20. Keynote Address — Keeping the Information Flow Open: A key condition for good government in Micronesia
      (pp. 375-384)
      Francis X. Hezel

      Good governance has become a catchphrase today. It is commonly seen as the standard by which nations are measured in the balance, the axle on which any nation’s wheel turns. It is as if the whole planet has used its collective force to mount a global campaign for good governance. Development banks, lending institutions and international organisations, not to mention large donor countries, have earmarked good governance as the essential condition for granting foreign aid. However many oilfields or gold mines a country might possess, without good governance it is consigned to a status of mediocrity or worse.

      Just what...

    • 21. Governance, Globalisation and the PNG Media: A survival dilemma
      (pp. 385-398)
      Joe R. Kanekane

      This chapter attempts to examine how the PNG media has promoted good governance. It also examines some of the global developments imposed in the country and how these have been embraced. But the bulk of this paper will look at some of the hurdles faced by the PNG media in attempting to better disseminate governance issues. Some recommendations are offered to solve this dilemma.

      The demise of the reputable weekly newspaper theIndependentin May 2003 heralded a reality check for the other forms of media seeking to survive in the tough and depressed PNG economy. Despite significant economic reforms...

    • 22. Democracy in Papua New Guinea: Challenges from a rights-based approach
      (pp. 399-408)
      Orovu Sepoe

      PNG has encountered numerous challenges to its youthful and fledging democracy since independence in 1975. Against the background of critical issues facing the country, this chapter sets out to provide the rationale for and explore the importance of adopting a rights-based approach to strengthening democracy in PNG. The discussion also attempts to identify the opportunities offered by the rights-based approach for building a viable and meaningful democracy. Major legislative reforms and initiatives in institutional strengthening undertaken in PNG, in particular the Limited Preferential Voting system (LPV) and theOrganic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates(OLIPPAC), can...

    • 23. Governance and Livelihood Realities in Solomon Islands
      (pp. 409-416)
      Morgan Wairiu

      The three institutions of Solomon Islands life are traditional governance (custom), the Church and the State. In the past century, the first two have been strong, the third weak (Brown 2003). Despite this, the condition of traditional governance and the Church are sometimes not noticed by the outside world, which concentrates instead on the State. Modern governance systems have displaced traditional governance. Modern governance is perceived by people to be alienating and disempowering (Wairiu et al. 2003). It is characterised as alienating people from their family or tribe, land and culture. Participation in decision-making and reciprocity are inherent characteristics of...

  13. List of Contributors
    (pp. 417-422)
  14. Index
    (pp. 423-428)