Nik Naidu Interview

Selwyn (l) Nik (r)
Selwyn  Manning of 36th Parallel interviews Nick Naidu of the NZ Coalition for Democracy in Fiji

My quick notes on what was said:

Australia-NZ relations.  Nik expects the restoration of diplomatic relations to lead to ANZ asking the Commonwealth and EU to resume aid to the sugar industry.

The economy generally. Nik thinks they have all had a disastrous effect, especially on the poor, but he did not said how. Selwyn mentioned money from sugar (which has decreased), peacekeeping and tourism (which have increased).  Nik thought remittances from overseas relatives have increased. 

Cause of coups. He said all three coups have been about money and power, with  failed politicians and others adversely affected by a government not of their liking  turning to the military to mount a coup so they could regain their power and money. In other words, he sees no essential difference between all three coups.

Poor leadership. He thinks Fiji's major problem has always been poor leadership.  (See Sudarsan Kant's views on the role of oppositions in a democracy, also in this Weekend Readings.)

The military needs to downsize and exercise better governance (stay out of politics?)

Window of opportunity. Selwyn  asked whether government's (sic!) arrest of Qarase, and hints about a Chaudhry trial,  were  about "getting rocks out of the way" to give it an advantage in the forthcoming election.  Nik didn't give a clear answer to this question. Selwyn did not appear well briefed on the trial. (See my earlier posting  this week, replying to Peter Williams QC.)

Nik was clearly not persuaded on government's stated good intentions but thought the present situation offered a window of opportunities.

Unfortunately, he had probably not read the SDL submission to the Constitution Commission . If he had he'd have seen the "alternative."  [SDL now says the material submitted to Fiji Village was not their submission to the Constitution Commission, though most of the points are identical those released to the media earlier.  More on this as information comes to hand.]

Pacific Scoop coverage of the interview.


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