News and Editor's Comments Thursday 4.8.11

 Thursday 4.8.11
METHODIST ANNUAL CONFERENCE. When Methodist-Government relations were at an all time low, it was expected permission would not be granted to hold the usual three day Annual Conference until 2014. The Church asked this year that the one day time be extended to 24 hours. Approval was given for the conference to be held in Suva from August 23-25, with eight hour sessions each day to total the 24 hours requested. The choir and soli competitions, however, are still on hold this year.
STOP UNDERMINING PROGRESS. The PM says that government efforts to make opportunities available for all citizens are being undermined by a few individuals. He said  "misinformation and factually incorrect information about Government is mischievous and is being promoted by a disgruntled few who have a lot to lose when the ordinary citizens benefit the most." And  he again urged people to contact his office or a Government Department if they have any "issues."
    This is fine, but it should be in addition to —and not instead of— more normal channels.  There is no substitute for a free, responsible and open media. PER has served its purpose and should be lifted well before the Constitutional dialogue starts next year.
PENSION CUTS. Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has told Radio Australia that the proposed FNPF reforms are necessary for its long-term sustainability. I have no doubt this is true, and I respect the A-G's efforts to improve FNPF transparency and governance.  But there is no way pension cuts of 64% can be justified on moral, and probably, legal grounds. Past governments entered into a contact with FNPF members which this government inherited. If cuts must be made (and it seems likely they cannot be avoided), it would be fairer for them to be phased in over time, and for those on the smallest pensions to receive the smallest cuts. Prof Wadan Narsey has more, much more, to say on the issue in Pacific Scoop. Here's the link to his article.
     In present circumstances, short to medium-term political sustainability is far more important for the future of Fiji than the long-term sustainability of the FNPF. The present proposal will cause Government to lose many friends it cannot afford to lose.  
NEW HYDRO. China will fund a new hydro station on Taveuni with government picking up only site development costs. Local labour will be used in the Chinese work.


Then clear things up please said…
Perhaps the PM could clear up the mis-information by publishing his salary and that of his ministers instead of going on and on and on about how wrong everyone else is.
Me said…

You forget that in their minds they are popular !

Biggest supporter said…
What the ? Could it be your unwavering support for all things coup and all things RFMF is.....well....wavering Croz ?

Surely you must understand the only support frank and team want is total and unquestioning support. They know best and only they have the ideas. We must respect them and do as they say. That is the only way forward for Fiji.
Um yes said…
Looks likes union leaders are finished. Add them to the rubbish bin with SDL, FLP & NFP. Now all government has to do is keep everyone quiet until 2014 and they will be the only ticket running. I doubt on their current record they will allow any new opposition party to be set up before the election. So the election will be won easily, they will still have absolute power and the rest of the world will have to roll over (they have been asking for democracy). Not as dumb as people thought hey ?

The only issue i see is from within. Given everyone involved in this coup is laughing all the way to the bank then whats stopping another one some time soon.
Getting on with it said…
What a full circle government has taken since the removal of FLP from the interim government. With strong action like this they may just be successful in getting industry going and gaining back a little business confidence. It's no longer unions who whack you around but government and the RFMF you have to be worried about but as long as you sing their praise and giver senior RFMF office a board gig or two you should be right.
Supporter said…
To all those boring folk wanting to know the PM and AGs salaries. Go away, it is not going to happen. The number is much higher than previous ministers, certainly higher than commadors wage but not as high as the blogs say. These guys do work a lot harder than previous governments so don't they deserve much bigger salaries. Also why is it anyone elses business ? These guys are honest and doing everything right for Fiji. Lets give them our love, our prayers and full support and let them make all decisions for us.
Truth said…
Getting a little sick of being treated like fools. This quote today from Sharon/MOI

“We would like to remind members of the public that the PER is still in force and should be observed,” Ms Smith-Johns said.


“The law is clear in this regard and it’s a simple process of applying for a permit”, she added.

Anonymous said…

I know you are very confident on free and fair elections in 2014 and open and inclusive dialogue starting next year. In that context can you explain how the PER and recent efforts to shut down unions is a progressive move to meet the roadmap ?
peter said…
It is disappointing to read your views on FNPF.
You also appear to unaware of the Fund’s current revised proposal to phase in the cuts over time and shelter the lower pension sum recipients? Please see[1].pdf

And also that Governments around the world have been walking away from their ‘legally binding’ unsustainable pension commitments for years. What FNPF is proposing is nothing new? Sadly it should have been done years ago.

What you are suggesting is certainly the ‘easy way out’ and “keeping friends” is what politicians have been doing for years in France, Spain, Portugal and the US etc. And now look at the financial mess they are in.

Do you think a future popularly elected Fiji Government would have the guts to carry out this reform which has been recommended by the World Bank, IMF, ILO etc for years, and well before this Government? I suspect if it is not done now it will never be and FNPF will become insolvent.

Should the Fiji pensioners of today be subsidised so that the pensioners of the future get less or even nothing? Do you wish the national pension fund to end up like Greece and living (paying out) beyond its means? I really don’t think so.

PS. You might like to ask Prof Narsey whether he is the recipient of an FNPF pension? And if so at what pension factor?
The time is right for the Mockumentary! said…
Time to quit PER and opt for a Fiji version of Afghanistan's mockumentary 'The Minister'?

A means of educating Afghanis on the reality of their lives through a prism of democracy and the political realities which confront them: nepotism, corruption, incompetence, hierarchy and arrogance. All taking place in a province called Hechland - the Wasteland!

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