Showing posts from January 17, 2010

Listen to RadioNZ National this Monday Evening

If you can, tune in to Nights with Bryan Crump on Radio New Zealand National at 9:40pm this Monday. Bryan has asked me for my  opinion on recent Fiji developments. And invite your friends to join you.

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in Connect. 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.

Do it for Fiji*
Many times in our lives things do not go right. We lose family members, get sick or our children move away.The price of fuel affects the price of goods and we get angry. But do we stay angry? No, we adjust and our lives carry on.

All the coups affected me and my family. But I have learned to move on, tighten my belt a little more and take the challenges head on. I’m not going to stay angry or brood forever.Those who have wronged me have to live with their sins and the devils that haunt them.

I got a bad deal while I was in government. I was angry for a while but I’ve moved on. I’m a better person now, a little gray but better. The hurt I experienced from that bad deal …

(o+) Leweni's Nomination: Why NZ Should Accept

Read also the many informative comments on this post. Click on "Comment" at the end of the post. 
To those making comments, another PLEASE. If yo wish to remain anonymous, sign off with a pseudonym and then click on Anonmous.
 There's a background to this story. NZ website Guide2 thought (and many others agreed) Leweni's nomination was "provocative." I replied saying travel bans result in heavy reliance on military in Government. FijiToday, one of the very few reasoned anti-Government blogsites, said there were plenty of competent civilians who could have been nominated. I replied, then Scott MacWilliam sent this very perceptive comment.  If anyone in a position to influence our Government reads this, please pass it on.

Scott: "There are political reasons for NZ accepting the Fiji government's nomination of Lieutenant Colonel Neumi Leweni which also deserve consideration.

The first is that as one of the regime's most senior people, what he conveys…

"Troubled Fiji Still a Tourist Paradise"

AAP/Fairfax senior journalist Miles Godfrey recently spent a few days in Fiji courtesy of the airline V Australia and the international luxury hotel chain Sofitel. He reported a huge upturn in tourism and urged his readers to “definitely go to Fiji - it is one of the most interesting, friendly places in the world. But [he wrote] if you do one thing, take a second (sic!) to understand what has happened to this nation over the last three years.” Here, mostly in his words, is his list:

Overthrown of democratically elected Fijian government; scrapped Fiji's constitution in favour of rule by military junta, delayed elections, sacked elected ministers, introduced heavy media censorship and ousted Australian and New Zealand diplomats.

Poverty still blights ordinary Fijians. Tin shacks, third-world living conditions and low wages remain common; an orphanage full of children … one of dozens of orphanages across the islands. Nearby Sofitel help out but it's a sign of the political dif…

(+) Moves in Fiji-NZ Relations

Government has nominated Permanent Secretary for Information and Military Spokesperson Lt. Col. Neumi Leweni to take up a counsellor's post at the Fiji High Commission in Wellington. The nomination of a military person is seen by one  NZ website as "provocative" but as I commented on their website, Government has had to rely on military people to occupy many top positions precisely because the NZ (and Australian) travel bans have prevented many suitably-qualified civilians from applying. Seen in this light, the "provocation" is of NZ's making. Lift the bans (or at least apply them more flexibly), and Fiji may be in a position to nominate a civilian for the Wellington post.

Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand, followed on from Apolosi Bose's AI earlier report, renewed its call for the NZ Government to ensure human rights are included in any dialogue with Fiji. Improved dilomatic relations, they wrote, provide a new "opportunity to raise conce…

Extending Engagement

Extending Engagement*
by Scott MacWilliam

Now that New Zealand has started to recognise the need to change its previous hard-line against the military regime in Fiji, a range of suggestions are being made about the most appropriate policy changes. One move, proposed by Croz Walsh in a recent issue of this blog, is for the removal of travel sanctions which have discouraged some of Fiji’s most talented people from applying for government positions. The reasoning behind this proposal is impeccable, and needs to be taken further with the removal of blanket sanctions on all personnel serving in the current government and administration.

The sanctions only apply to travel to Australia and New Zealand. PM Bainimarama and other senior officers have had no difficulty visiting other countries, including the USA. Sri Lankan legal officers have been able to travel to Fiji via East Asia. In terms of effectiveness as a means of isolating the regime these bans are little more than an inconvenience, bu…

(o) Snippets: Soccer, NZ Sanctions Poll Results, Fiji National University, Parachute Journalism, Civil Servants, Qoliqoli, Crime and FNPF Reforms, Court Cases (Qarase, Dorsami Naidu), NLTB, School Bus Fares, Ethanol

 The starred (*) items are all part of the "Roadmap"

How Fiji Beat NZ at Soccer, and Lost Before the Game
In 2007, FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) was forced to cancel the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa qualifying match between New Zealand and Fiji, following the New Zealand government’s refusal to grant a visa to Fiji goalkeeper Simione Tamanisau (Photo In order to maintain the integrity of the competition in the Oceania zone, FIFA made the decision to call off the encounter, which would finally take place a year later in November 2008. In the meantime, the Kiwis had secured their qualification for the next round, which may have rendered the result meaningless, but not the decision to postpone the original fixture, as Fiji earned a 2-0 victory on the day.

Fiji Live Poll. "Should the New Zealand government continue sanctions against Fiji while trying to normalise diplomatic relations?" Yes 32%; No 68%. This non-representative p…

(o) NZ Foreign Minister McCully "Step by Step": How NZ Can Really Help Democracy in Fiji

Murray McCully's recent  statements on Fiji suggest a much more realistic appraisal of the situation than was evident under the former Labour-led government, and an improvement on his own earlier statements. McCully's meeting with Fiji Foreign Minister Kubuabola last week will bolster diplomatic representation. It did not change NZ's basic position --  elections with which it is prepared to assist in whatever ways it can -- but it was a crucial first step.

The second step is his reaction to kerfuffle about pensions and the Methodist Church, both quite misrepresented by the media (see earlier post on pensions). McCully dismissed them as moves to quell dissent but "not a reason for us not to try and improve diplomatic relations. We expect progress to take place in terms of the relationship step by step with allowances for some setbacks from time to time."

He could, however, underestimate Fiji's threat to withdraw from PACER (Pacific Closer Economic Relations Agre…