26 Feb 2004

Economist says New Zealand and Australia need to change attitude to Pacific nations

5:39 pm on 26 February 2004

An Indo-Fijian economist says Australia and New Zealand need to stop being the big brothers to Island nations and do more assist in critical areas of the smaller countries economies.

Professor Wadan Narsey from the University of the South Pacific says both countries could for example reduce illegal logging in Solomons by helping them to set up a timber processing factory there.

He says it would creates jobs, increases value and raises the government's revenue income, as well as reducing the number of trees being logged.

"At the moment, the Solomon government looks around. Where is this money coming from? It doesn't have any revenue. So of course when somebody comes along from Taiwan or Korea, and pays them extra to just take the logs out, they give in to the temptation because its easy money. For them there's no alternative and really Australia and NZ, if they're genuinely looking after Pacific countries, as older brother, they would be helping us more in critical areas, but at the moment they are more like big brother.."

Professor Wadan Narsey from the University of the South Pacific.