Newsletter, News

CID Weekly: Last newsletter before Xmas - Pacer Plus, Pacific post COVID, low carbon energy vs ending poverty?

Posted on 15 December 2020

Meri Kirihimete, Mele Kalikimaka, La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou, Kilisimasi Fiefia, Marau na Kerisimasi, Te Pito o'te Henua, Kiri Timiti and Merry Christmas Everyone!

This will be the last newsletter from CID for the year (until the week of the 11th January). 2020 has been a disruptive year - filled with some  unexpected twists! - but we remain resilient as we continue to support each other, and address these challenges together. The CID Team would like to thank you for your support this year, and we wish you all a safe and restful time with your whanau and friends over Christmas, New Year and the holiday season.

Best regards from Josie, Aaron, Luke & Campbell.

+ Pacer Plus comes into force

The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus - a trade and development agreement connecting the Pacific region - came into force this week (December 13).

PACER Plus is a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, covering goods, services and investment in 11 Pacific countries, including New Zealand and Australia. The two Pacific Forum countries, which are not signatories to PACER Plus are Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

Listen here for a podcast debate on Pacer Plus with CID's Josie Pagani, MFAT's Keawe Woodmore, former trade negotiator Peter Fa'afiu, and trade campaigner and former Green MP, Barry Coates.

"The Pacific is either one of the most aid dependent regions in the world, or its countries are on the brink of graduating to developed country status, thanks to new trade deals like Pacer Plus. Depends who you talk to."

Some have questioned the development benefits of Pacer Plus.

"Tonga’s decision to join PACER Plus remains questionable, considering that Tonga has almost no manufactured products to trade with," says Tonga paper Fresh Plaza.

Meanwhile New Zealand's Pacific Co-operation Foundation (PCF) has welcomed the news the agreement will be in force, saying it will be a  "trade and development agreement that would lower barriers, provide greater certainty for New Zealand businesses and raise living standards, create jobs and increase exports in Pacific countries."

"PACER Plus ready to go sends a very strong message that the Pacific region and New Zealand are ready to do business," said PCF Chair, John Fiso.

"In our current Covid environment and the fiscal pressures this has placed on New Zealand and the Pacific region, we need to all think strategically about how we can work better together for shared solutions."

For an overview of Pacer Plus have a look at this MFAT page.

+ The Pacific's Lost Decade

The economic and social damage wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic threatens a Pacific ‘lost decade’. The Pacific has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic because of its heavy reliance on a few key income sources, which have been badly affected by the crisis, especially international tourism.

Even when the pandemic has eventually been brought under control and vaccines become widely available, the Pacific’s economic and developmental progress is likely to have been permanently set back. 

The Lowy Institute policy brief 'Avoiding a Pacific Lost Decade: Financing the Pacific's Covid-19 Recovery' suggests multi-year ‘recovery package’ of at least US$3.5 billion (A$5.0 billion) is needed for the Pacific to fully recover from the pandemic. This should be funded by the region’s official development partners.

+ Welcome to CID: Dr Philippa Smales

CID is thrilled to announce that Dr Philippa Smales will join our CID team in February next year as the new Business Development and Member Engagement Manager. 

Philippa has over ten years of development experience, working with universities, NGOs, governments, unions and other organisations.

Most recently she has been working with Australia's Council for International Development (ACFID), where she has been running the RDI (Research for Development Impact) Network - a  network linking universities, ACFID and its members, DFAT, and businesses active in development, with the best research.

She will be fantastic addition to our small team, and we look forward to introducing you to her in the new year. 

+ New Privacy Act 2020

Revisions of Privacy Act this year introduces greater protections for individuals and some new obligations for businesses and organisations, including INGOs. The changes include the requirement to report serious privacy breaches to the Privacy Commissioner and to affected people. There are increased fines for organisations that don’t comply, and there are new rules when sending personal information overseas.

The Privacy Commissioner also has new powers to help people access their own information and to require businesses and organisations to comply with the law. They have released new information to help business navigate the changes to the Act, and these can be found here. Rotary New Zealand has also shared a helpful Privacy Principles document to share with members.

+ Cook Islands & Australia travel bubbles announced

A travel bubble between New Zealand and the Cook Islands, as well as between New Zealand and Australia, has been announced to be in place before end of March 2021.

Before two-way travel opens up with the Cook Islands, New Zealand will open up one-way quarantine-free travel from the Cook Islands for those needing to access essential services. 

In a joint statement announcing the travel bubble, Prime Ministers Jacinda Ardern and Mark Brown of the Cook Islands confirmed that the priority for both countries would be to keep them free of Covid-19.

Prime Minister Brown said free movement was integral to the Cook Islands' recovery from the impact of Covid-19, with a boost in tourism expected to revive the local economy.


+ Tracking Aid Flows during the Covid-19 pandemic

How is aid changing in the Covid-19 pandemic? Financing that targets the poorest and most vulnerable people and places, including international assistance in the form of aid, is vital to address the immediate consequences of the pandemic and the longer-term setbacks to progress towards meeting the SDGs. At the same time, donors are heading into recession, leading to significant cuts to aid budgets already being announced by key donors, such as the UK.

Development Initiatives has released a helpful tool to track and analyse in real-time aid commitments in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and bring forth evidence about how aid trends may be changing. The data is sourced from the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), and is updated monthly.

Development Initiatives compare the first nine months of 2020 to 2018 and 2019 to show the changes in aid flows from pre-Covid levels.


+ Modern Day Slavery Campaign Update

CID recently facilitated a Zoom seminar with World Vision's Rebekah Armstrong and Trade Aid's Michelia Miles, educating CID Members on the NZ Modern Slavery Act Campaign being launched early next year by World Vision and Trade Aid. 

Thank you to all of those who joined and contributed - we are very excited to see the campaign launched early next year, and hope to see members engaging with the campaign throughout.

If you have specific questions re the campaign and how your organisation can be involved, please email and

+ 10 Years in the Pacific: Disaster Law Programme

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Disaster Law Programme has worked in the Pacific since 2010, starting with the review of Vanuatu’s legal and policy framework for disasters in partnership with the Government of Vanuatu and Vanuatu Red Cross.

When Tropical Cyclone Pam tore through Vanuatu in 2014, shortly after the review was finalised, Vanuatu issued its first-ever request for international assistance, to which the response was beyond expectation, and the country was flooded with uncoordinated aid and assistance. Described as a ‘wakeup call’ by the Government of Vanuatu for international disaster law legal reform, it was a catalyst for Vanuatu and the rest of the Pacific.

An IFRC disaster law advisor was quickly deployed to support the government with regulatory barriers arising from the response, and in the weeks, months and years that followed, the journey to review, reform and operationalise laws and policy relating to disaster management began in Vanuatu. Since then, this work has reached across the Pacific Ocean to work in fifteen Pacific countries and you can stay abreast of updates here; Disaster Law Programme.

The Covid pandemic has really highlighted the need for all disaster management systems to be underpinned by effective law and policy, whether it is for a cyclone or a public health emergency. Research is happening on this in the Pacific, in conjunction with the Pacific Resilience Partnership.

+ Stuck between low carbon energy & ending poverty? 

"Without cheap, safe, low-carbon energy sources at scale we are stuck between the alternatives of high greenhouse gas emissions and energy poverty," writes Max Roser from Our World in Data.

"The world lacks safe, low-carbon, and cheap large-scale energy alternatives to fossil fuels. Until we scale up those alternatives the world will continue to face the two energy problems of today.

"The energy problem that receives most attention is the link between energy access and greenhouse gas emissions. But the world has another global energy problem that is just as big: hundreds of millions of people lack access to sufficient energy entirely, with terrible consequences to themselves and the environment."

+ UBD campaign - 'Send cash not stuff'

CID has launched its campaign which will include a roadshow, plus media, radio ads and videos, to encourage the New Zealand public to send cash, not stuff when responding to emergencies. 

The World Food Programme, in partnership with New Zealand’s Council for International Development recently launched a new website to support kiwis to donate more effectively following a disaster. 
Messaging on how to send cash safely:

  • Donate to a trusted humanitarian organisation in New Zealand. For a full list of accredited humanitarian responders, go to the Council for International Development’s website
  • Use the same banks and businesses that you use to send remittances to impacted families or church communities in the Pacific
  • If you still want to collect stuff, convert it into cash in New Zealand by selling it at a garage sale, then sending the cash.
 Remittances play a critical role following a Pacific crisis. 

CID is urging banks and money-transference businesses to support humanitarian responses, by temporarily wavering transaction costs or keeping them at less than 3% during an emergency response and removing bureaucratic barriers for already stressed families trying to send cash to family overseas.

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