Murray McCully Should Read This. Steps towards a Solution for Squatting
|Bangladesh leases, December 2010|
This is one story of what government is doing to address that issue for one group of squatters relocated from other parts of the Greater Suva urban area:
Some 147 squatters on Lakena Hill near Nausori will receive official documents confirming their 99-year leases from the Minister for Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and Environment today. In what essentially is a site-and-service development, government will provide residents with sewer lines, paved roads, footpaths, access way, fire hydrants, water and electricity. Residents will be responsible for their own housing but low interest loans will be available from commercial banks. Late last year a similar project took place for the Bangladesh squatter settlement in the Suva-Nausori corridor. (See story) This year squatters at Vatoa and Lomaivuna have also been awarded leases, and leases for Badrau settlement in Ba are expected soon.
Government's recently launched National Housing Policy that aims to provide affordable and decent housing for all communities by 2020 is an initiative required by Pillar 8 of the People's Charter and the Roadmap for Democracy and Sustainable Development. It will be a hard ask given that the country has some 200 squatter settlements and many others smaller squatter groupings. -- Based on No: 1205/MOI.
A NZAid research team led by Dr John McKinnon started to assist with the squatter problem in 2008 but work stopped as NZ cut back its aid programme. If Minister McCully were better informed on positive developments like this that have been initiated by the Bainimarama government (and were sadly neglected by previous administrations), one wonders whether he might see Fiji in a range of colours, and not simply in blacks and whites.