27 Sep 2010

Pacific countries warned of corruption threat after tie ups with Russia and Georgia

4:44 pm on 27 September 2010

A New Zealand academic says Pacific countries will have to watch out for corruption as new countries become involved in development in the region.

The Georgian President last week called for Nauru, along with two other countries, to overturn its recognition of the breakway states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, for which it has received aid from Russia.

Auckland University's Stephen Hoadley says badly-designed aid programmes from these countries, and other regional players, can end up costing Pacific countries more.

"The offers made, certainly by China, and I would guess by Russia as well, can sometimes be under the table, as well as on the table and this undermines the democratic and transparent nature that we're trying to encourage in the Pacific Islands. I don't think it's a new Cold War yet, but in this kind of rivalry, there are distorting incentives that are presented to the relatively vulnerable leaders of small Pacific states."

Auckland University associate professor, Stephen Hoadley.