PM on Role of Australia and New Zealand


Fiji will continue to participate in all Pacific Islands Forum activities except the Forum Leaders’ meeting.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said this yesterday “to set the record straight” because there appeared to be confusion about Fiji’s position.
Mr Bainimarama said: “We will continue to participate in all Forum activities at the public service, technical and ministerial levels. The PIF Secretariat will, of course, continue to be headquartered in Fiji. But as Head of Government, I will not participate in any Forum Leaders’ Meeting until the issue of the undue influence of Australia and New Zealand and our divergence of views is addressed.”
Mr Bainimarama made the comments when he opened a meeting of development partners at the Novotel Suva Lami Bay to decide on a draft agreement to institutionalise the Pacific Islands Development Forum.
He said: “Australia and New Zealand are not island nations. And we believe that they are more development partners such as the European Union, China, India, South Korea, Indonesia and the rest,” he said.
“This is not some ill-considered position based on resentment against Australia and New Zealand for their punitive attitude towards our reform programme that produced the first genuine democracy in Fijian history. This is not me ‘mouthing off’, as the New Zealand Prime Minister so condescendingly put it.
“But as things stand, we do not see Fiji’s interests reflected in the stance being taken by Australia and New Zealand. And especially on the biggest threat to our security we have ever faced collectively as Pacific Islanders – the rising sea levels caused by climate change.
“In common with the European Union and a host of other countries, Fiji wants the global community to commit to binding cuts in carbon emissions to reduce the current rate of global warming.
“The scientists say these cuts are vital to prevent the sea level rises that in the near future threaten the very existence of Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands. Plus vast tracts of land in other coastal island nations.
“Yet rather than join us at the forefront of the international campaign to cut carbon emissions, Australia in particular is dragging its feet.
“So much so that even major carbon emitters are complaining about Australia’s refusal to meet its international obligations.
“Rather than side with us, Australia in particular is siding with what I call the coalition of the selfish.
“Those industrialised nations which are putting the welfare of their carbon polluting industries and their workers before our welfare and survival as Pacific Islanders.
“We now find ourselves in common cause not with our closest neighbours and traditional friends – those who sit with us in the PIF – but with others such as the member countries of the European Union who also heavily invest in the long-term welfare of our people but stand with us on the issue of climate change.”
He said the Europeans had proved to be “our true allies” in this most basic of struggles. He said Australia and New Zealand had been put to the test on climate change and been found wanting. So it should be no surprise that Fiji had formed the view that at the very least, their position as full members of our island nation Forum needed to be questioned, re-examined and redefined, he said.
“They simply do not represent our interests as we face this critical matter of survival,” he said.

PIDF
“I want to make it clear once again that we are not putting forward the PIDF as a competitor for any existing organisation.
“What we are doing is providing a space for everyone to have their opinions heard, which has not been the case with the Pacific Islands Forum. Though I’m pleased to note that the PIF appears to be following our example.
“I am not here to force Fiji’s view on anyone. It is for the region as a whole to decide its future and the adequacy of the existing regional framework.
“But as Fiji sees it, we needed to create a piece of regional furniture that we are all comfortable sitting in and we have. An organisation for Pacific Islanders by Pacific Islanders. Free from undue outside influence and existing only to pursue the interests of Pacific Islanders, whoever they are or wherever they live.
He said PIDF was not in the business of “creating fat cat bureaucracies that waste our precious tax dollars”.
“That is not the Pacific way. Our mantra must always be to do more for less, to create an organisation that is lean and efficient and that because of its integrity, enjoys the confidence and support of our development partners.”
“I know I don’t have to lecture you on this point. Because so many of you have always operated with scarce resources and know that this is no impediment to being effective. My own mantra in Fiji is that Government exists to deliver and to serve. And I urge you all to embrace the same values in the PIDF.
“And I want to stress that none of this affects our bilateral relations with the Australians and New Zealanders, who we continue to regard as friends despite our grave disappointment at their stance on climate change.”
Feedback:  aqela.susu@fijisun.com.fj

Comment. My own view is that ANZ should remain part of the PIF but only in the role of advisors and observers.  Their opinions should be sought but they should not be able to vote on any major issue. --Croz

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Comments

Anonymous said…
Come on Croz. You say ANZ opinions should be sought.

What about their opinions/stance on climate change?

Tony Abbott described the climate change science as 'crap'.

How can the PIF reconcile the views of Abbott & Keys with other members of the PIF who are slowly going under?

Frank is right; the PIF is dominated by ANZ agenda
Gino said…
Typically nothing has changed for the thug - we aus &nz to be present and shut up, but oh we do want their money coz we know china brazil indu and Azerbaijan relationship we so keenly explored, actually give us nothing. Just look at what happens when their is a disaster in Fiji. Who again are the leaders in providing aid, not loans but aid. Personally I applaud the Aust govt for reigning in Aid spending. About time. Keep looking north ya dumb thug.
Tuisese said…
Gino,
How true you are! Have you noticed the disasters we had had in Fiji and "peanuts" provided by Australia? Its about time we got treated as equals by both Australia & NZ and not just just given the crumbs as some kind of little kid who isn't listening to Big Dady & Mommy. Those days are over we not like Samoa who doesn't have any elections to pick a PM and has to rely on NZ for its survival nor P & G whose mineral wealth, timber is getting stolen by anyones stretch of the imagination but Australia turns a blind eye . Why it serves the Aussies to carrying on ripping off the uncivilised P& G peole. Both Australia & NZ made their wealth by ripping off the South Pacific countries maybe a little history lesson is needed here. Yes Fiji will look North because they know what potential we have in Fiji and we don't come to them with a begging bowl. Australia & NZ may be in our neck of the woods TRUE but thats as far as it goes. As soon as Britain or USA says jump its two cousins in the South Pacific wanna know to WHERE?
timoci said…
Equals??? while you have your hand out at every opportunity you don't get to be choosers. Now we hear it other countries like Aus and NZ ripping of Pacific Island countries. what joke. You have brought it all on yourselves and your own mismanagement. You have caused your own economies to shrink and expect all to standby and watch you remove government son a whim. You also expect some preferential treatment for us to buy your stuff when we can get it anywhere cheaper. I noticed when the petulant Fiji regime was moaning and whining about interference and hegemony they run straight to China Russia etc for support. Hah. No money from them I see. Perhaps you could all go for treatment in China or India and we can send out tourist to anywhere else. Fiji would fold in a week and it is entirely what we should have done eight years ago. BTW what did china offer for the disasters answer - bugger all as usual, lovely letters of support. Yes you go there looking for loans and aid from China so you are begging . they know and you know it. China isn't really well known for its luv of the darker shades at all.
Anonymous said…
clearly the ignorant dummy is looking for relevance. Big fish in Fiji but elsewhere....lol. 'As soon as Britain or USA says jump its two cousins in the South Pacific wanna know to WHERE' not to china that's for sure. Everyone I the region hates them and knows exactly what they are like. They are NOT partners, friends etc they are business or nothing. Luckily for us, they will pollute themselves and smoke themselves to death. If Fiji wants to play with the big boys and require respect, then pay for dinner or shut up and be grateful for whatever others chose to give.

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