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Pacific Briefs: Thursday May 2

By Barbara Dreaver ONE News Pacific Correspondent

Published: 10:40AM Thursday May 02, 2013 Source: ONE News

  • The Cook Islands Parliament Building (Source: ONE News)
    The Cook Islands Parliament Building - Source: ONE News

Pensioners fight back-tax

A group of Cook Islands pensioners who have been asked to pay back tax of three years have had a successful meeting with the Finance Minister.

The pensioners had received a letter saying they have to pay tax on their New Zealand pension backdated to 2010 or face penalties.

Around twenty eight pensioners met with Finance Minister Mark Brown who was surprised to hear the back tax was being enforced and promised it would be scrapped.

In the Cook Islands the first $10000 of income in a year is tax free and anything between $10,001-$30,000 is taxed at 25%.

The pensioners want to pay 1% and say if the Minister doesn't put in writing that the back tax will be abolished they will march on parliament.

Solomons govt furious at report release

The Solomon Islands Government has hit out at the leaking of a report into the ethnic tension.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission did the report which contains the testimony of those affected by the five years of violence and killings from 1998 along with recommendations to prevent it happening again.

The report's editor Bishop Terry Brown released all five volumes online saying he was not confident the Government - who received it last February - would make it public.

Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has reacted angrily to the report release and said legal action may be taken against Bishop Terry Brown who is now in Canada.

Solomon Islands Attorney General Billy Titiulu told Radio Australia there are concerns that people who read individual accounts may take matters into their own hands dealing out their own justice or claiming compensation.

Airline stouch continuing

Relations between Polynesian Airlines and Samoa Air remain strained over airport landing rights and fees.

Polynesia Airlines has refused to give Samoa Air permission to land at Apia's Fagali'i Airport to fly to American Samoa.

Previous media reports quoted Samoa Air's Chief Executive Chris Langton saying Polynesian Airlines had had a change of heart which was in keeping with a Government promise to give the small airline unrestricted use of the airport.

However Polynesian Airlines Chief Executive Taua Fatu Tielu told Talamua Online that Samoa Air has to comply with a number of terms and conditions first.

He says Samoa Air owes it over $40,000 but Samoa Air officials are denying this.

Major defence meeting in Tonga

New Zealand and Tonga have also signed an agreement which will allow members of the NZ Defence Force to stay temporarily in Tonga.

Defence Ministers around the Pacific region are in Tonga for the second day of security talks.

The two day meeting includes Australia's Defence Minister Stephen Smith, New Zealand Defence Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman, Papua New Guinea Defence Minister Dr Fabian Pok and Tonga's Lord Tu'ivakano.

There are also observers from the United States and United Kingdom along with military heads such as NZ Chief of Defence Lt General Rhys Jones, Australian Chief of Defence General David Hurley and the Commander of the French Armed Forces in New Caledonia Brigadier-General Jean Francois Parlanti..

Lt Commander Taniela Tuita from Tonga told Matangi Tonga Online that the meeting will discuss aspects of defence and security issues, including maritime security, peacekeeping and disaster relief in the region.

Journalist faces jail

A journalist in the Northern Mariana Islands faces jail as she is refusing to reveal the source of a story as ordered to by the Attorney-General's office..

Tammy Doty who works for the Marianas Variety has been subpoenaed to hand over all notes and recordings about a story she wrote about a threat to a former governor of the country.

The reporter is challenging the subpoena and the newspaper lower believes she is protected by the US Constitution.

Attorney General Joey Patrick San Nicolas says it's a balancing act between getting important information and protecting reporters.

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