News and Comments Monday 3 October 2011


IS THIS THE BREAKTHROUGH WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR? New Zealand is calling on the Ministerial Contact Group to reconvene and take up Fiji's offer for a visit.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully says he is disappointed the Forum MCG could not come to Fiji before the leaders meeting in Auckland. McCully hopes the MCG will re-engage with Fiji soon and take up the invitation.

"I know that the Foreign Minister has been absent from Fiji - with the United Nations General Assembly meeting and other commitments over the last few weeks. But I think he will be in Fiji in the next few days. I will be hoping we can establish contact again to see whether we can take that forward."  Fiji's Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola had called on the Contact group to visit and see the work of the government.

EU EXTENDS BAN ON FIJI for another year and some claim this a victory for the trade unions. Ordinary people in Fiji, who will suffer as a result, will give it another name, and popular support for the trade unions will decline even more.

ONE WAY OF GETTING RID OF THE POOR. The World Bank has advised Fiji that 28% of those receiving welfare benefits do not deserve it. The Bank's reports, the ‘Assessment of the Social Protection Systems in Fiji and Recommendations for Policy Changes and Poverty Trends, Profiles’ and ‘Small Area Estimation in Fiji (2003-2009)’ was apparently approved by Cabinet last month. What Government decides to do about the Bank's recommendations has not yet been announced.

The Ministry of Social Welfare Women & Poverty Alleviation currently provides assistance to about 24,000 people.These include people who do not have income support, those that are chronically ill and disabled people who are permanently disabled without income support.

This is typical of the advice the Bank has been dishing out for years now, increasing gaps between rich and poor within and between nations. And if they don't accept the "advice" loans and other assistance is likely to be withheld. Pity they didn't recommend the resumption of EU, Commonwealth,IMF and Australian and NZ assistance. 

ENVIRONMENT TAX UNACCEPTABLE. Here is another example of passing on costs unfairly. Consumer Council's Premila Kumar  says the environment tax proposed  by the Ministry of Environment to address waste management and other concerns is unfair to consumers who do little to pollute the environment. She said the government should introduce a polluter-pay principle instead of increasing the overall Value Added Tax.

“The Polluter Pays Principle is an internationally recognized environmental policy principle which requires the costs of pollution to be borne by those who pollute,” said Kumar.“Individuals, factories, companies and industries that add to land and sea pollution under this policy will be required to pay the cost of pollution and waste generation.”

Government stands to gain around $952 million from the implementation of the tax. Annual environment expenditure is presently around $22 million.


Waste not said…
Anyone who claims individual consumers are not doing anything to 'polute' Fiji must be living in a different Fiji to me. Just drive around Suva and watch people throw rubbish straight from their cars. Check out the water front after any sat or sunday family picnic. Consumer polution is a huge issue. And when ever the issue is raised the solution is more bins, more clean up day or asking council to do more. Here is a better idea - get individuals to take responsibility for their own waste !
Anonymous said…
I don't think we can expect much more from the EU. Their position has been clear from day one. It is Fiji who has made promise after promise then failed to deliver again and again. Even now if you where a EU advise you would have to doubt free and fair elections where going to happen in 2014....or more likely they will happen bt won't be anything like free and fair.
cabinet approved ? said…
What does 'cabinet approved' actually mean ?

I'm guessing that 28% is in far more need of the assistance than self appointed ministers and PM whose own salaries remian a great mystery most likely due to their large size compared to previous governments.
first step maybe said…
I Hope so Croz !!!!!

NZ certainly needs to change it's tune and approach. You have highlighted this many times.

The other need is a massive attitude shift in the Fiji government particularly the two key leaders PM/AG. Unfortunately they have not shown themselves to be diplomatic, flexible or even thoughtful on many occasions. Their idea of dialogue is giving a one sided presentation on "progress" and than everyone else singing their praise. NZ is never going to endorse their coup. What NZ might do is actually help get to a election but you would want to see a clear commitment that they are also working to this. The PER needs to go as a first step.
Waiting for a breakthrough said…
The breakthrough we are all waiting for is a return to democracy, freedom and the rule of law? When that happens, and only if free and fair elections are held ASAP, will consideration be given to a return to assistance. This has been clear from day one. It is up to the military junta to make the right decision, return to the barracks and allow Fiji to recover and rebuild.
Fiji Rugby Union - Pay back the Fiji taxpayers' F$3m and Volunteer! said…
@ Polluter Pays Principle.....

Of course that is the right and fair way to go: the SMART way. But it requires intelligent investigation and may involve having to fine your friends and associates? Will that ever happen?

In lieu, if extra taxpayers' dollars are required, the Fiji Rugby Union should now, of necessity, pay back the F$3m it frittered away on a bunch of "No Hoping and Losing Players", Three million dollars is a great deal of money in today's conditions. If they cannot pay it back, then they must "work in lieu". Volunteer work by all players/managers/coaches (EVEN THE BOARD) must be done to the taxpayer equivalent of F$3. And, what is more, that is what losing and ill-coached teams are to do from now on in ANY SPORT. Pay your way: you win or you work!

The work ethic over years by the Board of the Fiji Rugby Union has done more than sufficient to rob Fiji Rugby of its backbone. Persons have served who have never played a single game of rugby let alone be steeped and versed in the ethos of rugby. Look at Scotland and England in their memorable game. Every skill ever devised was on view. England won but Scotland never lost that game in spirit. They played their hearts and their souls out. Both teams taught us all how rugby XVs should and must be played. The Fiji Rugby Union and its disgraceful Lottery should hang their heads in prolonged shame.
Democracy 'Out of a Hat'? said…
@ Waiting for a 'Break Through'....

You write as though this will all be drawn out of some instant hat?

Do you think for one minute that if the Fiji Rugby XVs team is only able to win one game of rugby in a World Cup Outing that democracy will suddenly unfurl and unfold itself on the Playing Fields of Albert Park? We shall have forgotten how....

Putting together a World Cup Squad of XVs Players is a reflection of a Nation's cohesion, coherence and will to win. The Fiji Rugby Union has been a dysfunctional, quasi-political Set Up for years. It is filled with ignorant, self-absorbed and greedy individuals who cannot run a fund-raising lottery with efficiency, competence and integrity. Write them all off!
Anonymous said…
Waiting for a reply said…

Actually YES I would like it spelt out please and if you have specific information on the following please share it.

1. How will the elctions work
2. Who will be allowed to run
3. When will they be allowed to form and start campaigning
4. Will they be able to reverse any of the current governments decisions
5. Will they have to accept the military plans to have a role in government going ahead
6. When will the PER be dropped
7. How is the Essential Serivice decree not Anti Union
8. How much is the current PM and ministers paid.
9. What checks and balances are in place to ensure PM and ministers do not take advantage of there unchecked power ?

I can assure I am not a SDL supporter and I have never been on the gravy train as you call it. I would however like you to "spell it out" as you put it, in answering my questions. Assuming you have some special information we don't ?
SOE said…
@ Anonymous in Capitals

Well, your stated opinion is nonsense. No SDL Gravy Train exists now but another has taken its place. This train extends into the Far Horizon and it is becoming increasingly costly to maintain. Those driving the train are insufficiently competent to see which stations and obstacles are staring them right in the face. The people are justified in their alarm and they ought and deserve as the funders of this unwieldy vehicle to be told clearly, succintly how the Economy of Fiji is to be nursed through what might turn out to be a catastrophe.

You do surely agree? How could you not?
Anonymous said…
@ Waiting for a Reply

If FB & AK are really genuine about a return to denmcracy, then they should be giving us answers to the questions you posed.

We need answers now!. Not the BS 'drip feed' strategy they currently employing. Their current 'drip feed' strategy only serves to expose their lack of commitment to holding genuine elections in 2014.

Like many others, I beieve FB & SK promises to a 2014 elections to be a ploy to keep them on the gravy train. Thre will be no such elections: or if there is one is will be so outrageously constructed that it will be a FARCE!!!

Mark my words!

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