Showing posts from November 15, 2009

(o) Iconic Kiwi Biscuit Made in Fiji; Negative Blog Report

STOP PRESS. Click here for the Fiji reaction.

Griffin, NZ-biscuit makers since 1864, is "outsourcing" some of its production to Fiji.   

The NZ reactions?
Manufacturer: "did not believe the political situation in Fiji would affect the company."Union (looking after its members):"It's a surprise to me – I thought it was all made here." Green Party  MP Keith Locke:  Griffins could be exploiting poor worker conditions in Fiji. "There is effectively a dictatorship in Fiji [which] has undermined the ability of unions to operate freely and to maintain or improve the conditions of the workers." The facts? 
The NZ Union was unable to prevent Griffin closed its Lower Hutt factory a year ago with a loss of 228 jobs.  The outsourcing is not directly related to the closure although both, of course, are to do with costs and profits. Wages are lower in Fiji (hence the move) but isn't providing on-going jobs, helping Fiji exports and restoring a little of …

Lockington’s Everyday Fiji .. Life Goes On

 Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in I thank Allen and Connect for permission to reprint some of them in this political blog. They remind us that life goes on, whatever the political situation. And it's good to know that.

The Phoney War

Anyone remember in the late 80s when supermarkets in Suva had a price war. Woolworths, Burns Philips, J Santa Ram and R B Patel are some of the big names that come to mind. While they tried to outdo each other offering very low prices, the consumer benefited. It became ridiculous - the good kind of ridiculous.

Now we are experiencing another price war. Our telephone companies are trying to outdo each other. Digicel and Vodafone have always been seeing to be at each other’s “throat”, so to speak.

But we forget about Telecom Fiji. They said “Hey, yoo-hoo, hang on we are here to.” They dropped reconnection fees and offered double ups and other i…

Daylight Saving This Weekend

Government's reintroduction of daylight saving will see Fiji clocks  advanced one hour at 2am this coming Sunday morning, 29th November, and  put back one hour at 3am Sunday 25th April next year.

(G) Government Reports Back on EU Trip: Commitment to Reform

PM Bainimarama, reporting on his trip to the European Union in Brussels, said had he discussed changes that will be made to the 1997 Constitution that deal with the rule of law, the judiciary, human rights and democratic principles with the EC’s Director General for Development, Stefano Manservisi and his advisors.He  assured them of government’s commitment to upholding the rule of law, the strengthening of the judiciary, respect for human rights and respect for democratic principles.

He said this commitment was evident in the decreeing of recent new legislation “and the resurrection by decree of those essential elements of the abrogated constitution dealing with such matters”.

Bainimarama also briefed the EC officials on the programmes of institutional, judicial, constitutional and electoral reforms that are in place to begin in 2010 and in subsequent years and the reasons for these reforms, and issues pertaining to the Strategic Framework for Change, the National Dialogue Forum and th…

(o+) President Aims to Unite Chiefs

The President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, intends to reconcile all chiefs within Fiji. He said it wasthe will of the people that all chiefs unite. Ratu Epeli is optimistic that despite the differences, dialogue could be maintained among the chiefly.

"Reconciling the chiefs is an ongoing process," he said."We have our differences. I have differences even with my close friends who happen to be chiefs but it is not the end of the world because there is always a way out of a sticky situation."

"As the representative of the people I have to be open, listen to people and hear what they have to say.We might have our differences but it doesn't stop me from trying to work things out."

To carry out the reconciliation process, Ratu Epeli said he would need to visit the 14 provinces in the country."It's a matter of making the arrangements and planning them." He made the comment during his tour of Macuata, the first province he visited after he became Presi…

(o+) Govt Insists on Development Money Accountability: Part of Roadmap

Hi Croz – did you see this story on North Projects Worry State in Tuesday's Fiji Sun? It is a very good example of why there has to be accountability at all levels and why there has to be change of attitude in Fiji in order to achieve accountability and transparency. Loloma, L.

The story (extracts below) concerned under-used goverment money and incomplete government-funded village projects included community halls, water sources, housing and toilets.

Strategic Framework for Change Northern Coordinator, Kisoko Cagituevei, said “If we cannot help ourselves then it would be impossible for others to help us. We are now preaching about changes Government is making on the need to monitor Government-funded development projects.”

He told chiefs and district representatives of Macuata in Vanua Levu that all Government ministries and agencies would be monitored and assessed on the implementation of all the objectives of the roadmap. “Development cannot take place, if we do not monitor operat…

Cibi Victim to Mistaken Religious Intolerance

Fiji's decision on religious grounds not to perform the cibi, or war chant, before Saturday's rugby test against Scotland in Edinburgh has polarized the deeply religious but rugby-mad nation. Full story.

(o) Snippets: Pensions, Debt, NLTB, Prices, Brij Lal, ECREA "Widespread Dialogue" , HIV/AIDS, PSYCHIATRIC CARE

A UNIVERSAL PENSION SCHEME for people who are not civil servants or member of the Fiji National Provident Fund is being called for by Fiji Council of Social Services (FCOSS) Director Hassan Khan (photo Fiji Village). Full story.

GOVERNMENT DEBT was $3.066bn or 51.3% of GDP at the end of June, compared with $2.769Bn and 47% of GDP at the same time last year. Cash flow data, however, showed a net surplus of $39.6m for the first five months of this year, and revenue collection increased 6.5%. Full story.

FORMER NATIVE LANDS AND TRUST BOARD General and Legal Managers have pleaded not guilty of conspiracy to defraud the Vanua Development Scheme, the business  arm of NLTB,of trust funds totalling $3.7m. Full story.

A PROPOSAL BY THE PRICES AND INCOMES BOARD to control prices of 24 items has been rejected by Government. The Board claimed widespread inconsistencies in retail prices for these items. Government said the move would have created distortions in the economy, is anti-business and is no…

Kua Hinga te Totara Nui

A NZ Ambassador Who Stood Taller 
than the Others: 
A Tribute to His Excellency Te Rongotoa (Tia) Barrett

Thakur Ranjit Singh

The passing away of a gentleman and a career diplomat Tia Barret came as a shock to those who knew him. As somebody who was fortunate to have met him in Fiji between 1998 and 2001 when he was heading our High Commission in Suva, I always had a desire to re-establish that contact here, but that dream will now remain unfulfilled by his sudden departure.

He was in Suva during very troubled times with two significant events. The first was the takeover of the Chaudhary government by George Speight in May, 2000 and the second one was the attempt on the life of Commodore Bainimarama by rebel soldiers on 2 November, 2000 through a mutiny.

During those troubled times, he was holding the fort at NZ High Commission and was an exemplary ambassador for Aotearoa, and added pride to this profession by standing stall and being different from other ambassadors by talking his mind w…

(o+) Oz NZ-Fiji Relations, Blog Blocks, Anti-Govt Blogs

What a weekend!

Fiji lost to Scotland, and I've spent too much of the weekend, with help from friends in Fiji, trying to find out why blog links to Fiji were down again.  More on this below.

One interesting development over the past few days had been the mounting calls for the NZ and Aust.Governments to take a re-look at relations with Fiji. Nik Naidu of the Auckland-based Coalition for Democracy in Fiji, for one thinks their attempts to "steer Fiji more quickly towards democracy isn’t working.” He says the Fiji Government is now even more entrenched, and he can't understand why ANZ won't engage directly with Bainimarama. They "must take an unusual approach to the situation with Fiji for the sake of its people," he said.

The Fiji New Zealand Business Council has taken a similar line.It says "there comes a point when countries need to be co-operating to boost trade and forestall the impacts of the global recession." The Council called on NZ to dr…