Wanted Balance, Solutions Not Negatives, Rotuma-Tuvalu Trade, Wages, Sick Comments


WANTED: BALANCE, SOLUTIONS.  NOT WANTED: POSTERIORS, NEGATIVES. The Permanent Secretary for Information, Sharon Smith-Johns has refuted media reports made by Professor Warden Narsey on the state of Fiji’s economy and poverty levels.“He has contradicted his own figures, ignoring the positives and only discussing the negative,” Ms Smith-Johns said.

“Let’s look at his figures, Mr Narsey’s own data reveals that poverty in Fiji has indeed been reduced between the period 2002-03 to 2008-09.  However, in a recent interview he states that the future for the Fiji Economy looks extremely bleak and poverty looks set to rise further.” The Permanent Secretary said at the national level, poverty levels had fallen from 35 per cent to 31 per cent. 

Breaking this down into rural and urban, the urban poverty has declined from 28 per cent to 19 per cent a major reduction of 9 per cent, however in the rural areas poverty has raised from 40 per cent to 43 per cent an increase of 3 per cent.

“These people are quick to jump on the media bandwagon, however do they provide solutions or work with the Government. I don’t think so, it’s far too easy to sit behind a desk and look for all the negatives,” Ms Smith-Johns said. “Interesting enough Professor Narsey also acknowledges the lack of data between 2004 – 2007, which begs the question how can he possibly forecast the future of Fiji’s economy.
“It is only fair that the government’s achievements be honestly acknowledged by academics and other analysts. I urge us all to examine this with objectivity and balance and contribute to the development of the economy, rather than loiter around the fringe of its fundamentals.” -- 2010 No:1668/MOI.

ROTUMA-TUVALU TRADE UPDATE. The only approved trade at the moment is root crops, and the problem with fruit exports will soon be resolved with the installation of proper quarantine facilities on Rotuma. The only immediate problem is that Tuvalu may not be able to make a ship available due to the recent elections. A high temperature forced air plant to treat both fruits and vegetables awaits installation, and discussions are continuing between biosecurity officers from both countries for additional commodities to be included in the trade list. -- Based on 2010 No:1657/MOI. The trade is important for the food-limited Tuvalu atolls and for Rotuma whose exports until now have been limited by its remoteness from the remainder of Fiji. Rotuma is closer to Tuvalu than to Viti Levu.

.  It's never easy looking at a glass from both ends. The Fuel Retailers Association wants government to remove price control from retail fuel prices, saying that if it does not pumps will switch to self service on the 20th, with a loss of 400 jobs.They say  price control and increasing costs have made it impossible for them to earn a reasonable rate of profit. The Consumer Council has urged the retailers to reconsider their decision and asks them to document their claim of a 10-20% drop in sales revenue.

In another story, the  15% wage increase, proposed by the Wages Council, could have a similar effect in today's economic climate, and perhaps should be introduced 5% at a time, as someone has suggested in a recent blog comment.  But then employers invariably claim they cannot pay better wages, and they are shy about telling the public what they consider a "reasonable rate of profit," a profit made possible by both capital and labour. Perhaps some profit-sharing with labour based on audited productivity may be the way to go?

SICK, DELUDED COMMENTS. Some recent comments on the blog by anti-Government people can't be doing their side any good. To call Prof Richard Herr OAM PhD a "failed academic [who] is is working for the pro regime indo-Fijian focussed university of Fiji" and to call me an anti-Fijian, anti-Samoan racist won't cut any ice with anyone who knows anything at all about either of us. No wonder one of the writers called himself "Desperate Spin."



Working with government said…
Both you and Richard Herr seem rather confused. Do you know what a coup is? You suggest we 'work with government'. How can we do that? Fiji's government was deposed by soldiers in Dec 2006. What we now have is a military regime NOT a government. For you and Herr to suggest the junts is a government is delusional and dishonest.
Jonathan Segal said…
It's really unclear with what all this means re: balanced analysis. Does this mean if Professor Narsey had acknowledged the "positives" in his statements, then he wouldn't be criticised for highlighting the negatives?

With all due respect to the PS of Info, the message out there feels as if people are ONLY supposed to discuss the positives or, at the very least, add extra weight to that side of the analysis. That's not the meaning of balanced. If Narsey did leave out data, then he should know better. If the statistics included in the the PS' response are accurate, it's very good news but it seems to obstructed by the personal attack.

In a story earlier this week on Fiji Village, it was implied that Netani Rika has a personal agenda because he stated that the journalistic standard is low in Fiji.


I read the papers every day. I have a journalism/communications degree from university (even though I don't think this is relevant). I'm on the ground and have been for almost 9 years. I believe that regardless of Rika's agenda, journalistic standards are low right now. I believe they'll slowly improve but right now, the papers feel like rubbish.

We have to be able to acknowledge and point out these challenges. Whether I (or Rika or Narsey or anyone) am right is hardly relevant. It's an opinion.

My point: We'll never be able to change foreign media coverage and they'll constantly be accused of fanning the flames on the negative. It's like that the world over. Provide an intelligent rebuttal to the negative if one exists and move on. I think attacking the people isn't helping the government's brand and likely won't change anything.
Good riddance said…
Honestly, after almost four years of Fiji being governed rather well. you'd have imagined that those like "working with government" would have got the message. Whether you call it a military regime, junta or box of chocolate soldiers . the truth is those running Fiji since 2006 have done a huge amount to deliver basic services to ordinary people. If that's not a government then I don't know what is. Oh, I know. It's not the bunch of corrupt, self-serving racial supremacists we had before. Now that was a government!
honest balance said…
It's hard to swallow hearing the PS Information
calling for balance and honesty in reporting.

Have this government ever been honest about anything.

Isn't the whole point of the PER and censors
to ensure only one side of the story, the government and
Miitary line gets published ?

Has the PM ever been honest about why he took
over the government - no.

Has the PM ever been honest about is back pay - no.

Has the PM ever been honest about elections - no.

Has the PM ever been honest about the economy - no.

Has the PM ever acknowledged the devestating impact of his coup - no.
Same old same old said…
Well, Croz, aren't we lucky that a couple of people who've chosen to stay out of the debate for months are now back commenting on your site. We've got Jon (Fraenkel?) and the redoubtable Jonathan Livingstone Segal banging the old pro-"democracy" and anti-regime drum. Welcome back, gentlemen, though it's a shame you haven't learned anything in the meantime.
Jonathan Segal said…
@ Same old same old:

"banging the anti-regime drum"? Is that really how you interpreted what I wrote?

I'm commenting on a communications approach, not making a stance on democracy. Thanks for clarifying what your opinion of my position is, though. This is exactly what's wrong with this entire debate. The "you're either with us or against us" attitude is misguided and unhealthy.

I'm at least willing to put my name and be open about who I am.

Note to Croz: Your own listed rules state that comments which attack the person will be deleted. I'm having trouble figuring out how that person's comments contribute at all to the discussion.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Joanathon ... You are quite right in your general argument and in your note to me. On the latter, I try to publish as many comments as possible and keep some sort of balance between pros and antis. To do this, I need to bend the rules a little and permit marginal comments like this.

@ Same old... Please note. And I doubt Jon is Jon Fraenkel.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Working with government ... I can assure that it is not us who are not confused, delusional or dishonest. We are dealing with a de facto government, as are our respective governments, the Forum, the EU and the UN. The Queen's message to the President on Fiji Day was not confused or delusional.
Jese R said…
I think the point of the Warden Narsey story was the fact that the report was in fact positive, however in his delivery he only used the negatives. He sensationalised the situation by claiming that poverty is set to rise, when in fact it is falling and the economy looks extremely bleak, but gave no real indication on how he based these assumptions.
it is not a matter of only reporting the positive its a matter of giving the correct information. Nothing is to be gained for Fiji by predicting doom and gloom when the country and businesses are working hard at keeping the wolf from the door.
Working with the junta said…
Do you know what a double negative is? Perhaps you are not delusional and confused but dishonest? The Queen's message is to the people of Fiji - not the junta - they are mutually exclusive. Unless we are all mistaken Fiji is suspended from the Commonwealth becuase of the regime's actions. That is the honest view but correct us if you wish your delusional dishonest view to prevail in your blog supporting human rights abuse?
Military definition of balance said…
Wanted: Positives and Platitudes

Not Wanted: Anything else. Please refer above for what is wanted.

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