Excise tax

The Northern Marianas House of Representatives has increased the excise tax on betel nut imports. Under the old rules importers paid a 1 per cent excise tax on each betel nut sale but this is now changed to $US3 ($F6.15) per pound of betel nut. The money is intended to be kept aside and used to deter consumption of betel nut which is linked to oral cancer.

Community upset

Members of New Zealand’s Pacific community are upset that there was no consultation from the country’s indigenous broadcaster over a controversial comedy. Maori Television cancelled plans to air the Australian series “Jonah From Tonga,” after an outcry from members of the Tongan community who called it racially insensitive.

Hope for support

The UN Resident co-ordinator in PNG hopes the incoming government will support a conservation project in East and West New Britain. This is the first time the two provinces have collaborated on a conservation program. Roy Trivedy said the move was vital for biodiversity, conservation and forestry on New Britain.

Call for review

The Commonwealth team observing PNG’s national election says there’s a need for a thorough review of the electoral process and urgent improvements to the electoral roll. As vote counting is getting underway around the country and only a few electorates are yet to complete polling, the team has issued an interim statement, recommending among other things an urgent review of the electoral roll.

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