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.