Monday, 6 October 2014

The New Parliament and the Relevance of the NZ Election

The Budget Forum has been and gone  Over 200 "stakeholders:" took part in the discussion which was judged a success but the only political party present was the FLP.

Biman Prasad send an apology and some ideas for discussion. Ro Teimumu did not even have the courtesy to reply to the invitation.  Not a good start for an reasoned, inclusive parliament which held its first session today. Government and the opposition parties would do well to take a leaf out of the book of NZ's John Key, but more of this below.

The New Parliament

The first session Monday 6 October 2014. Dr Jiko in the chair.

FIJI HAS ITS FIRST WOMAN SPEAKER. Parliament unanimously elected Dr Jiko Luveni as Speaker. Two nominations were received for the position of Deputy Speaker. Ruveni Nadobe Nadalo, the Government nominee, was elected with 32 votes, beating the Opposition nominee Ratu Viliame Tagivetau with 18 votes.

Speakers traditionally have to be dragged to accept their election.

For the origin of the tradition, click here. Other photos may be seen on the MOI Facebook site.  Click here.

PORTFOLIO CHANGES. A  last minute change in Cabinet before the swearing in of the new Parliament sees Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum resuming his role as the Attorney-General. Sayed Khaiyum sheds the role of Minister for Industry and Trade and Minister for Tourism, which will be taken up by Faiyaz Koya who was appointed as the Attorney-General after election. The switches in the portfolio will see Mr Sayed-Khaiyum taking up the AG and Minister for Finance portfolio.  The business for the first sitting of the new parliament included the swearing in of Members of Parliament, elections of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Opposition Leader, the adoption of Standing Orders, and the setting of a date for the next sitting.

RO TEIMUMU was elected unopposed as the Leader of the Opposition.

THE GOVERNMENT BENCHES. Line ups in the front benches indicate importance.  Numbers 1-6 went to the PM, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum (Attorney-General and Finance),  Pio Tikoduadua (Infrastructure and Transport),  Ratu Inoke Kubuabola (Foreign Affairs), Dr Mahendra Reddy (Education), Mereseini Viniwaqa (Lands).

CEREMONIAL OPENING OF PARLIAMENT. The President will open Parliament at  10am Tuesday.

John Key wins the 2014 elections.
Why is the NZ Election Result Relevant to Fiji? 

Both countries have mixed member proportional representation, both PM's have said they wished to make government inclusive with some sharing of power with opposition parties,  and both PM's were reasonably modest in victory.  In Fiji, FijiFirst won 60% of the votes and in NZ, National won slightly over 50%, until special votes reduced its majority to just under 50%.

John Key is hoping to sign a memorandum of understanding with NZ First, and is expected to make single-policy deals with the Green Party. The NZ Listener commented,

"If entered into with goodwill, these ventures will mark a welcome maturation of our MMP system, based as it ideally is on consensus politics."
Voqere Bainimarama has already tried to be inclusive by inviting the Opposition parties to the Budget Forum, and there has been talk of an appointment to the Taukei Land Trust Board.

It is important for democracy in Fiji that FijiFirst does not choose to rule alone, or is forced to do so by Opposition intransigence.

There are many potential areas of common ground, and scope, particularly in the standing committees, for co-operation.

From the Government side, I hope they seek areas of agreement with NFP on the economy and education, and with SODELPA on the use of Taukei land and Taukei concerns. There could also be agreement, later on,  for a revived, apolitical Great Council of Chiefs, with clearly prescribed boundaries of responsibility.  

From the NFP, I hope they do not slide into a too easy, engulfing accommodation with SODELPA. They need to keep their own identity and  show a willingness for principled co-operation with Govenment on selected issues.

For SODELPA, I hope it will focus on the issues where accommodation and compromise is possible. The management and use of Taukei land would be good starting points. I hope it does not focus on issues it cannot win, where further argument would be even more vindictive and divisive.

I hope it will abandon its appeal to the Courts challenging the 2014 Constitution and challenges to the validity of the Election results.  It cannot win these issues or force any change within Parliament. Indeed, as a minority party, it cannot force any changes.

SODELPA needs to quickly evolve into a party respected by all ethnic groups and all educated people as a party of reason and moderation  or it will lose even more support at the next election.

Finally, it is people who may or may not be reasonable and speak with moderation. This means that all  MP's, especially their leaders, must play their part or Fiji, led by poor parliamentary example, will lapse once more into division and acrimony.

It is Fiji Week this week and Fiji Day on Friday.  Something to cautiously celebrate?


  1. I think all Town Councils and Rural Local Authorities should encourage it's ratepayers to buy a Fiji flag and fly these on Fiji Day.

    Business groups can participate by offering prizes to specific homes for the various locations on the best decorated house and awesome party held on Fiji Day

    Bars and nightclubs should also get in the 'wagon' and offer discounted price for first 3 beers purchased for all patrons who wear anything that has a Fiji flag in it.

  2. Maybe all schools should give their students an assignment that makes them write a small essay (and provide pictures} of how they celebrated Fiji Day with their family. The assignment should have a component whereby some marks are given if their homes flew a Fiji flag, or their family prayed for the nation, or some sort of activity that reflects the importance of this day.

    Just a thought.

  3. Maybe Village 6 and 4 should offer a special offer to all families who becomes their patrons on this Fiji Day.

    Special offer may include reduce door prices or free ice-cream (courtesy of Tuckers whom have benefited so much from doing business with Village 6/4), etc.

    Just a thought.

  4. Blah blah. Slurp slurp......

    1. Osobo........... who's this?

      Please use your own name or create your own.

    2. Don't worry Taxi Driver keep it coming. Don't worry about those who don't have originality and good ideas.

  5. OK another little suggestion for Govt in assisting iTaukeis:

    I suggest that Govt. work with Fijian Holdings Unit Trust and aggressively sell their Units in a very attractive and convenient way to iTaukeis overseas.

    This way, Govt. can get money into Fiji and Fijian Holdings invest their funds into attractive businesses. So in the end our GDP figure that FB always tell us (during campaign periods) is increasing would increase much more and place our country in a better position financially.

    1. I think Govt. can also do the same with Unit Trust of Fiji and also aggressively sell their Units to all Fijians overseas.

      The more the money flowing in the better.

      Just a thought.

    2. Sorry forgot to mention how Units could be sold attractively. Some suggestions perhaps are:

      - Maybe have some arrangements drawn up with foreign nations and companies where direct deductions could be made and Units for the holder increases each time monies are received by the Unit Trust companies.

      - Maybe offer discounts for holiday packages to hotels 'owned' by these Unit Trust companies for '5 star' Unit holders (i.e. those who have purchase over a certain specified no. of Units).

      - Etc.

    3. NZ has little to no relevance for Fiji. Fuck New Zealand. Better yet, untuck New Zealand. Ditto for Australia.

      Fiji's future lies with China and India and an independent relationship with the US.

      Fiji can carve out a new relationship and new and creative foreign policy. Neither NZ nor Australia own the Pacific. And you Walsh, you are just a left over second rate imperialist at heart. Take a hike. We are done with the likes of you.

    4. Maybe, Taxi Driver. you should just drive your taxi and shut the fuck up. Most of your ideas are not worth a fart in a blue bottle. You are B-O-R-I-N-G. AS FUCKING BORING AS CROZ WALSH.

    5. This Anony is a very sad person.


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