Pacific Roving Ambassador, Big Plans for Health, New NZ Aid Policy, A Tick for FijiToday, and its Polldaddy Poll

N0312. NEW PACIFIC ROVING AMBASSADOR. Another indication of Government's intention of developing closer ties with its Pacific neighbours is the appoint of Mrs. Litia Mawi as Roving Ambassador/ High Commissioner and Special Envoy to the Pacific Island Countries.

Until recently a career public servant, Mrs Mawi was Fiji’s First Secretary then Counsellor at the Fiji Embassy in Tokyo under the Qarase government. and a Permanent Secretary and the Deputy Secretary for Foreign Affairs and External Trade under the Bainimarama government. She retired from the public service in late 2009 when she travelled extensively overseas for personal and professional reasons.  She has just returned from Tuvalu and a one-year consultancy for the UN as an International UN Volunteer Specialist in Aid Management and Coordination assigned to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Funafuti, Tuvalu. -- Based on No.776/MOI.

N0313. BIG PLANS FOR HEALTH. Fiji should have a facility within the next five years which will enable local surgeons to perform heart and kidney transplants. Permanent secretary for Health, Dr Salanieta Saketa, said  major reforms over the last two years such as the decentralisation of the General Outpatients Department at CWM and the current upgrading of their ambulance fleet have helped improve current services. The Ministry's plans for the future also include better services for non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, cancer treatments and kidney diseases. A dialysis unit is now available thanks to assistance from the private and public sector.-- Based on No.0781/MOI.

N0314.  NZ'S NEW AID POLICY. The New Zealand government has released its new International Development Policy that aims to support "sustainable economic development, particularly in the Pacific region." To receive a copy of "International Development Policy Statement: Supporting Sustainable Development" please email:

N0315. CONGRATULATIONS TO FIJITODAY.  Thank goodness for another rational blog. Most political blogs on Fiji are so full of venom and hatred they cannot make  a useful contribution to Fiji's situation, or the way forward other than as advocates of violence and a return to the divisive racism and rampant corruption of Fiji from 2001 to 2006. Peter Firkins's FijiToday (I think the name is  a pseudonym) is very different.  It's anti-government, there's absolutely to doubt about that,  but many of its criticisms (usually contained in a long heading before a copied post item) are rational, thought-provoking and need to be made.  Recently it ran a poll asking readers to tick the statements with which they agreed on a wide range of government actions (see below).

Last Saturday it asked this question: "Leaving aside Political and Moral Issues, what actions of the current administration do you approve of?  I thought this comment and another reader's reply worth sharing with readers of my blog. I don't think Peter will mind.

A comment and a reader's reply
fijitoday | April 4, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:

I am an 19 year old economics student at USP and have studied the current actions of the Government against other countries  since the recent economic crash. I believe because we are not reacting as a part of an international community we are slowly falling behind other equivalent countries. With this isolation I feel that my generation will be severely disadvantaged with the debt and reputation that Fiji is now accumulating. I  browse blogs occasionally but have never felt the need to comment before. This blog has slowly become more neutral and not as radical as it once was so I tender my opinion of a recent post by your contributor Painkiller. I have added my comments in red. I hope you will post it as a younger persons view.
Anyone with half a brain can shoot negatives from the hip. This regime is the first to proactively promote multiracialism – ‘a fundamental of a truly democratic system ‘ – in contrast to the govt it removed which was actively promoting racism. AGREED   Another fundamental is the promotion of universal education through major attention to the needs of the children of the vulnerable and the poor. AGREED What percentage of the population have been ‘disciplined’ by the military? 10%, 20%, OR .01%. BRUTALITY AND TORTURE IS NOT ACCEPTABLE IRRESPECTIVE OF THE PERCENTAGE YOU FORGOT TO MENTION THOSE WHO DIED AS A RESULT. I HAVE FRIENDS WHO ARE TO SCARED TO MAKE RADICAL COMMENTS IN DISCUSSIONS OR PAPERS BECAUSE OF WHAT HAS HAPPENED. . Tourism has never been better managed as under this regime – note the remarkable increase in tourist numbers. THE TOURISM INDUSTRY HAS THE NUMBERS BUT IS NOT MAKING THE RETURN THEY DID BEFORE 2006. MY FAMILY IS IN TOURISM AND THERE HAS BEEN NO NEW PURCHASES OR SPARE MONEY FOR SEVERAL YEARS.  Initiatives in agriculture have never been better.AGREED THIS IS A LONG OVERDUE  STEP THAT WILL RAPIDLY HELP THE ECONOMY While sugar has its inherited problems, this government does not cease to explore new avenues to keep the industry going – a deal with Tate and Lyle has just been completed.THE SUGAR INDUSTRY WOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH BETTER OFF WITH THE MONEY FROM THE EU AND THE GOVERNMENT HAS SCARED INVESTORS BY BREAKING AN EXISTING CONTRACT WITH LYLE AND TATE BY THREATENING TO TAKE THE SUGAR ON THE SPOT MARKET. Cabinet and the civil service have been downsized and new work ethics are emerging. Reforms in Health and Education are ongoing ,AGREED promotion of financial literacy and microfinance is at an all time high AGREED MY BROTHER IS NOW LEARNING ABOUT MONEY AT SCHOOL UNLIKE  MY EDUCATION and exciting foreign relations are being explored – bring on Melanesia and Indonesia. AT THE EXPENSE OF TRADITIONAL PARTNERS WHO ARE LESS LIKELY TO DEMAND LAND AND MINERALS  GIVEN TO THEM CHEAPLY AND A LONG TERM LOSS TO THE ECONOMY.Off course all efforts by this government are being undermined by naysayers and limited by the myopic view from Canberra and Wellington but the fundamentals are being taken care of , most of all the welfare of the vulnerable in the community which includes the critical mass of indigenous Fijians living in villages who have been exploited for their votes by previously so called democratically elected governments. Economically we are feeling the impact of the global economic meltdown from which even the US is still slowly recovering. FIJI IS THE UNDERPERFORMING ECONOMY IN THE PACIFIC BECAUSE OF THE COUP How do you think the previous bloated Government would have cut costs to keep within its budget if it were still governing democratically under the current global economic climate ?  THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN  INVESTMENT AT SEVEN TIME THE CURRENT FIGURE  AND SUPPORT FROM ADB AND WORLD BANK AT A FRACTION OF THE 9% INTEREST WE NOW PAY. They were so busy feeding themselves that an uprising by the people would surely happen as is happening in the Middle East. DOUBTFUL The reality is this government knows what it’s doing and where it’s going. If you can’t stand it, too bad. All you can do is exhale hot air.

N0316. FIJI TODAY's POLLDADDY POLL. On-line polls sometimes reflect public opinion but more often they reflect only the opinions of those who have answered to the poll questions (some perhaps several times), and there is generally no way of knowing how representative they are of the public as a whole. This Fiji Today poll, however, has identified some  important questions. It could also have asked about land, the judiciary, the police, education, women, and so on but a later poll may ask questions on these topics.   I suggest you pay it a visit.  You will be asked to tick the following statements with which you agree.  Don't be surprised the Government gets few accolades. Most of FijiToday's readers are anti-government.
  • The Infrastructure (roads,water) has improved since 2006
  • Villages have received more help from Government since 2006
  • Civil Servants provide a better service since 2006
  • Medical Services have improved since 2006
  • The Business Environment has improved since 2006
  • Business Corruption (bribes) has decreased since 2006
  • The Investment environment has improved since 2006
  • I approve of the Look North Policy of moving closer to China and Malaysia
  • I approve of borrowing to improve roading and water.
  • I voted for the Peoples Charter
  • I believe PER is necessary at this time.
My Comment. The poll does not allow pollsters to say whether they live in Fiji which is a pity because responses could be very different for overseas pollsters. Few, for example, would have been able to vote for the People's Charter and most of their answers would be based on hearsay.

The poll also does not allow a "Don't know" response, so if you don't tick a statement you will be thought to disagree with the statement, which of course is not always the case.

Moreover, if FijiToday has subscribed to a free polldaddy account, the poll only accepts responses on ten questions from the first 100 pollsters.  So first in, first served.

It's not a perfect poll design but FijiToday should be commended for its initiative, even though their intention is only too transparent, and it's  not hard to guess how its results will be used.  Unlike other anti-government blogs, however, FijiToday publishes contrary comments, so if you are pro-government or neutral, you also will be able to vote and comment.


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