News and Comments 22 September 2011

STOP PRESS. AUCKLAND READERS. Meeting Friday. Don Brash on NZ-Fiji Relations. 
See  last item in this posting.
22 September

How Valid was the 2006 Election? 

It little matters now whether the 2006 election was flawed, manipulated or completely above board but it is important that Fiji learn from what happened, and what might have happened.

An EU report found that while there were a number of shortcomings and irregularities, the election was conducted well. This view was supported by other observers, but a Commission in 2007 brought together by Fiji Human Rights Commission found this not to be so.  But the FHRC had come out in support of the Bainimarama Coup so its motives, if not its findings, could be considered to be in doubt.

The Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says there remain causes for concern, notwithstanding the EU findings.

“It (the EU report) also highlights clearly and categorically that the law in fact in certain areas was not adhered to by the office of the Supervisor for Elections in respect of counting, in terms of registration, in terms of how there was a voter turnout in one of the constituencies in Cakaudrove of 101 per cent.”

Other deficiencies also occurred with the ballot papers, he high number (74,855, or 9%) of invalid votes and confusion over the alternative vote system. Government hopes to reduce such anomalies by the electronic registration of voters and voter education.

For more information Wikipedia has a useful account of the elections , its procedures and the concerns of the the 2007 Commission of Enquiry.

Dr Peter Nielsen, a member of the Commission, makes these comments.

A fuller and more comprehensive account  is provided by Prof Graham Hassall (then of USP) and Jeanette Bolenga. Their view is that while there were a number of important shortcomings, there is no evidence of deliberate manipulation of the results.

The jury is still out.

ZINCK CORRECTION. Kenneth Zinck apparently already had a multi-entry visa to Australia which he had used several times. My inference that he may have been visa queue jumping is therefore incorrect. But his story of being chasing along Victoria Parade and the subterfuge needed to depart Fiji is still difficult to swallow. He could well have decided it was time to jump ship and establish himself in Australia. Only time will tell.

TAKE YOU PICK: A READER ON ALTERNATIVES. "Just a comment on the recent (Lowy/Tebbutt) survey. I believe it was as accurate as any of these surveys are likely to be. There is one factor that tends to be overlooked, it is one that I believe provides a lot of the support that Bainimarama enjoys. Many people do not approve of the way the current administration operates or even how it got there but support it as the alternative would probably be a return to the corrupt and racially-biased previous government."

" New Zealand- Fiji Relationship : Going Forward"

Address by Dr Don Brash, Leader of the ACT Party of New Zealand

Date & Time : 6:30pm onwards, Friday 23 September 2011

Venue : Chandni Chowk Function Centre, 23 Eric Baker Place, corner Great South & Kolmar Streets, Hunter's Corner, Papatoetoe, Auckland

Dr Don Brash, Leader of the ACT Party, will speak on the current state of the official relationship between New Zealand and Fiji; and expound his views on the need for a change, i.e. for more forward-looking and constructive engagement by New Zealand with Fiji.

Note : This is not an official ACT Party event nor is it a fund-raiser for the ACT Party. This special event has been organised by Friends of Fiji and Fiji people who are concerned about the current impasse in the relationship between New Zealand and Fiji. 

Seats are limited.

Media welcome.

For more information please contact :
Surendra Sharma .  Friends of Fiji .
Susan Arcus . ACT Party . Phone +(649) 4728085 / 021-1833906 .


jumping ship said…

You may be right in that Zink simply wants to jump ship. I do however ask you to consider this....If you are a opponent of the current government the chance of promotion, appointmnet or business success become ZERO. It is likely you will be harassed by the military, possibly the police. It is likely that while you may not be physically harmed anymore (that has slowed right down) you will most definetely be locked out business and community circles. FICAC may chase you for something small and even though you might win in the courts it will be at your cost and time.

Government roles are out for you and private enterprise will be reluctant to hire you because of possible retaliation from government. So "jumping ship" is not a bad idea and probably the only the real option unless you are already wealthy and even then people want to work. You also have to worry about your family and how they will be treated.

Fiji is a small place as you know. This government for all their "inclusion" propoganda will quickly lock out any alternate voices.
No alternative said…
@ croz

Your reader has it part right about the support for this government. But it is not just about SDL that Frank enjoys support but because there is no viable alternative. Why not ? It it not permitted under the PER and most doubt any alternate parties or voices will be allowed to emerge before the 2014 election. That makes the 2014 election one to satisfy only the international community that calls for a election and will be no fairer than the 2006 outcome.
Corruption fighter said…
I'm still waiting for all the SDL's and Qarase's corruption (the reason given for the coup) to be uncovered ? Didn't that great man Peter Foster have all the evidence ? Or has that reason for the coup long since been forgotten ?
Aother good questions about "valid" said…
A good question to ask is...


Obviously we know it was illegal but how necessary was it ?

Another good question...

Jon said…
I know that Peter Foster has little credibility, but you cannot discount that he had a senior SDL officer admitting on film that he added extra fake votes to ballot boxes. The fact that there was 101% voter turn out in one seat supports that this corruption and rigging took place.
yea yea said…
The 2006 election would look like a act of perfection compared to the 'voting' for the charter.

- Questions where deeply flawed
- Military where responsible for distributing and collecting forms
- Hundreds of example of Military insisting forms where signed
- No roll
- No independant obervers
- No privacy
- The whole thing ws run by those who supported the charter
really ? said…
@ Jon

On film - really ? And why has FICAC not been onto this. Why has the minister not been arrested ?
Anonymous said…
@ Jon

how about we call in the UN to investigate the validility of the Charter Vote process ?
Talaite said…
Talaite wrote: "The AG having said all that about the elections, I for one am very curious to know and find out what role/s did the election observers play...specifically, what were they observing? The polling booths? I remember an event where ballot boxes from Lau were shipped back to Suva and stored at the police station for a few days before being counted!! That is nothing but a dereliction of the election process.....Ballots are counted where people vote, numbers tallied, and the result authorised by two poll workers (one from each political party) all on the same day. Re: relationship between NZ and Fiji, just one thing: Neither one is going anywhere or moving the country somewhere else! The interests they share are too important than any one of them cares to admit!"
Anonymous said…
@ Jumping Ship

You conveniently fail to acknowledge Zinck's role in the FRU Lottery fiasco. Lottery winners have yet to be paid out and promoters like Zinck are side-stepping to Australia to avoid being held to account. Thats the calibre of leaders we had pre 2006. Thnk God he wont have a hand in Fiji's future. Good riddance.
GET REAL! said…
Oh come on! Surely, we in Fiji KNOW who and how the May 2006 General Election was corrupted. We know how it was done, we have said so in our submissions and the Observers (all of them) were duped. They were duped, we must believe, because a certain outcome suited them? But we have evidence that threats and deliberate subversion took place on a daily basis. What more is required? Lady Godiva riding through Suva?
Enabling the impermissable? said…
Kenneth Zinck benefited from a rigged electoral process. It was bent from registration to the Counting Procedure. Those who have taken part in many Fiji Elections know this and they ought to have submitted their evidence. Now Australia and New Zealand are the beneficiaries of this 'undoubted talent', they might at least do some in-depth research at the highest level on how their Election Observers came into Fiji so questionably briefed, so unlettered in the tactics of the ruthless, the power-hungry and their own more-than-apparent assistance to the process. Were the May 2006 elections not supposed to have benefited US? The Citizens of Fiji and the taxpayers who were expected to financially support an incoming government? Would they ever dream of permitting such misgovernance in their own countries, using their own taxes? The answere is obvious.
Walker Texas Ranger said…
@ Corruption Fighter

On the issue of Peter Foster: ask his mother, Louise. She is just as privy to all the answers as Peter ever was and is. Too many Fiji people benfited from their acquaintance with the Fosters. That was more than evident when those seeking to assist Law Enforcement came asking questions. Those who happily rubbed shoulders with the Foster Family should now ask themselves searching questions. We know who many of you are. You are the ones who resolutely refused to assist in the suppression of criminal enterprise: Serious Organised Crime! In the end, Peter Foster himself did more to assist than any of you. Think of that, long and deeply. A country hobbled because collaborators chose to "drink on" and "smoke up"?
Jon said…

Yes, on film really. Just go to youtube and type "peter foster Navitalai Naisoro" into search and you can find it.
Anonymous said…
Com'on friends! Zinc is not gold and Foster is the beer that we need to take to view Fiji problems differently, for a change! This is what we need and don't forget that Foster has that power to break the mindset and rise above our limited potentials and grope into areas that we would normally not do! Foster will do you good before, during and after the Fiji/Samoa game. Even FB and Qarase will soak it up but the trouble is that you can't trust them but Foster was same yesterday, today and tomorrow. It will give you profound wisdom, courage to which you are not normally entitled and ability to err and yet rejoice in the goodness of life! This is one time when forgiveness comes readily from friends and foes because you mental and physcial powers are powered by Foster! Suggest, fast and pray for our beloved Fiji Team, Samoan churches are filled to capacity while we seem to forget Jesus and go for FB and Qarase! Good luck!!

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