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Pacific News Briefs

compiled by Samoa News staff


Samoa Breweries Limited has announced a major breakthrough in as far as exporting the taste of Samoa — Vailima — to the world.

Vailima Beer will soon be available in the United States. 

This follows an agreement signed between the Samoa Breweries Limited and the United States based importation and distribution company, Fore Drinks L.L.C. today.

The “taste of Samoa” is the first of many export shipments on its way to the West Coast of the U.S.A. and will become available in Hawaii, California and Washington State.

National Sales Manager, Aumua George Avia, told Samoa Observer that it’s an exciting time for the company to enter the U.S. market. “It’s all about taking the brand that belongs to Samoa which is Vailima we are going to take this to our new market, U.S.A.”

Aumua said, “The strategy behind is to follow our people and we did this with humbleness and meekness as well.

“We know certainly that there’s a lot of Samoans who used to live here in Samoa and in American Samoa that have moved to the U.S, this is about taking a bit of home with you and keeping it there in the U.S. with yourself.

 “In the biggest scheme, it’s been an honor and pleasure to be giving such a wonderful product to the U.S. and to indulge them as well.

“Another part of the strategy is to help grow Samoa as well.”

The initiative also prepares the local brewery for their 40th anniversary this year.

(Source: Samoa Observer)


The proposal by the government for Samoan seasonal workers to be eligible for permanent residency under the New Zealand 1,100 annual quota for Samoans is now on the table for future bilateral talks.

The issue was raised by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi during bilateral talks with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister Vaovasamanaia Winston Peters in Apia this week.

And Prime Minister Tuilaepa today during his weekly media program with Taimi male Palemia and remains confident that Wellington will consider the merits of the request from Apia.

“The RSE employers are singing praises for our Samoan workers.

“Our workers are trustworthy, skillful, dependable and have proven themselves capable of performing up to the expectations of the RSE employers,” said the Tuilaepa.

“Samoa is also the first country from the 9 participating Pacific Islands in the RSE program to appoint a Resident RSE Coordinator to live in Auckland.

“This is to ensure that our workers do not compromise the program by misbehaving and to ensure that we follow the RSE guidelines and regulations to the letter.

“On that note, Government is also playing the hands on role by initiating a pre-departure program for our workers to be well equipped when they do take up their seasonal employment.”

 The pre-departures include training in budgeting and wise spending of their hard earned wages.

There is also a health check requirement for all workers to undertake.

And the village councils are also playing a role through MOUs signed with government in a partnership to protect the integrity of Seasonal Workers program for their villagers to obey the RSE policies and regulations.

 “The RSE as I have said time and again it’s a win win situation and has contributed millions into New Zealand’s economy. And it is providing a valuable source of income for local families to build new homes, start new businesses and even purchase vehicles and other home appliances for their families.

“Some have also invested their wages in providing education for their children.”

The Prime Minister also noted that the success of the NZ Seasonal Workers may have also prompted the Australians for follow the Kiwis example.

“And I have been assured that there will be a pay raise for RSE workers including Samoans,” he added.

All in all, the Prime Minister is mindful that when it comes to the RSE employment, it’s a delicate and political issue but he remains optimistic that there is hope for Samoa’s request.

And Prime Minister Ardern agrees with Prime Minister Tuilaepa that it’s not a new issue when it comes to bilateral talks between the two countries.

 “It’s not a new issue,” she told reporters.

“We are very mindful that there are two competing interests here and we are trying to balance them.

“There is the Seasonal Works scheme very much to ensure that there is a returning work force and with the quota that is about opportunities and making sure that there are decent jobs available.

“We’re keeping those separate because we are trying to balance the two programs,” said the New Zealand Government leader.

This is the 11th year for Samoa to be included in the New Zealand Recognized Seasonal Works Employment scheme.

It provides temporary employment for Samoans and 8 other Pacific Islanders to work in New Zealand to help with horticulture and viticulture industries.

Samoa started with a little over 600 workers in her first year.

That number has now sky-rockered to over 1,600.

(Source: Samoa Press Secretariat)


The Minister of Samoa Airways, Lautafi Fio Purcell, has strongly rejected claims the national airline is already running at a loss.

A few months after the Airline was launched last year, reliable sources told the Samoa Observer the Airline is accumulating a loss that could have huge implications on its future plans.

The sources could not put a figure to the loss but they claim that it is "substantial" and "growing every month."

When the Samoa Observer contacted the Minister for a comment, he quickly rubbished the reports. “That is not true,” he said. “Where did you get your figures from? That’s not true.”

The Minister did not elaborate.

Asked for a proper interview, Lautafi said he was not immediately available as he was tied up with meetings in relation to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Samoa visit. It was not possible to get a comment from the Airline’s management.

But concerns about the profitability of the airline and its operational costs are not new.

Last year, the airline repeatedly refused to confirm or deny reports that it is paying US$500,000 (ST$1.25 million) a fortnight to lease the B767-300 aircraft from Icelandic Air.

After referring the Samoa Observer to the airline’s management for a comment, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi later changed his tune.

“These are commercial secrets, it cannot be revealed,” he said. “These things are commercial contracts, and if you inquire with any airline companies, they will never allow that to be known.”

At that point, the Samoa Observer put it to the Prime Minister that Samoa Airways is government-owned and that members of the public deserve to know.

But he disagreed.

“These are commercial secrets, it cannot be revealed,” he repeated. “It cannot be publicly announced, these are commercial based secrets.”  

 (Source: Samoa Observer)