brad brace

10/8/2008

Petrol crisis escalates in the Pacific

Filed under: global islands,new zealand,resource,tuvalu,vanuatu — admin @ 1:15 pm

New Zealand has stepped in to try to stall a crisis as Pacific countries struggle to pay their fuel bills.

New Zealand has paid for petrol experts to find an answer to the crisis amid concern that rioting could erupt in New Zealand if the crisis makes its way here.

“We haven’t seen instability arise because of rising fuel prices in the region yet, but it is something we are continuing to monitor closely,” NZ Foreign Affairs spokesman Mark Talbot says.

The Marshall Islands is under an economic state of emergency because they cannot pay for their next fuel shipment, with other islands not far behind.

“In my view it is dire; it is critical,” Jared Morris of the Pacific Islands forum says.

Most Pacific countries get their power via generators but diesel costs are also soaring.

Edward Vrkic from the Pacific Islands Forum says there are implications for keeping public services going, such as schools and hospitals.

Some islands are spending up to 70% of their gross national income on petrol subsidies so power stations can continue to supply electricity. To save costs they are preparing to bulk buy fuel and sharing high transport costs.

While Niue and Tuvalu have the highest prices in the region, Cook Islanders are paying up to $3.15 a litre.

“Our geographical location is one of the major factors that have contributed to high fuel prices. It has fallen hard on the people of Niue,” says George Valiana.

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