Thursday, 25 October 2018

Pacific Islands Weekly 24 October: Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Israel, NZ, China, Japan

Taxi owner supports FijiFirst. The owner of one of Fiji’s largest fleet of taxis has  vowed to use its vehicles to help the FijiFirst party in its campaign. Tiko Kece base owner Ratu Lomaca Baleilevuka said the reason was that the Government had assisted them with the issuing of taxi permits. Hum!!

Dr Wadan Narsey, in my opinion, rightly,   questions a situation where Board members of Fiji's largest financial entity, the Fiji  National Provident Fund, are all appointed by Government, which is also the largest borrower from the fund (about $2B.) Worker representation was abolished in 2014. (This suggests insufficient safeguards. -Ed.)

Ro Filipe for death penalty. Chiefly SODELPA candidate
Ro Filipe Tuisawau said he will immediately pursue the death penalty for child rapists and murderers if his  party wins the election and  “physical and chemical castration of rapists is a must, and they would be whipped every week.”  He said the lack of moral leadership in Fiji showed  the nation had started to deteriorate. On a separate issue he said Fiji needed a new constitution "validated by the people".

Minimum wage. SODELPA and NFP say they will increase the minimum wage $4 and $5. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said  FijiFirst brought in Fiji's first minimum wage legislation, and has increased the rate twice since. He claimed the Opposition  did nothing about the minimum wage when they could, and the proposed increases would cripple some businesses and not help the 130,000 non-waged. Fiji Sun.

After the 2014 General Elections, Government increased the national minimum wage rate from $2.00 per hour to $2.32, (and will review it again soon) By increasing the rate (with 45 or 48 hour week), more than 100,000 marginalized workers  had have their weekly wages increased from $90-$96 range to $104.40 – $111.36.

Dr Biman Prasad  says the NFP will talk to any party about forming a government. The party supports a secular state, does not want race‑based voting, and will continue the free bus fare scheme. 

Mosquitos and dengue fever. To eliminate mosquitos that spread dengue fever, chikungunya and zika more Wolbachia are being released in Suva and the Suva-Nausori 

SODELPA Leader, Sitiveni Rabuka says some of the regulations that a SODELPA government will bring in would deal with the removal of the current equal distribution of iTaukei land lease money for the members of the landowning units and the reinstatement of the Great Council of Chiefs.

While speaking on Straight Talk, Rabuka said that one of the first things they will do is to bring back the old payment system of the iTaukei land lease money where distribution is based on the positions and the responsibilities that the people have in a landowning unit. (leaving the "ordinary" landowners with next to nothing. --Ed.)

SAMOA More  seasonal workers off to New Zealand.

SOLOMON ISLANDS.  Forestry workers  to undergo drone training. I wonder whether this will help with the illegal Chinese logging situation. See my post pn143

Only woman MP sworn in.

VANUATU.  Israeli aid and recognition of Jerusalem as capital on agenda for PM's visit. 

NZ, Japan and the Pacific.  NZ and Japan talk about Pacific aid. and the growing debts to China. 

And academic Anna Powles says Japan and New Zealand must listen to Pacific voices and not just react to competition from China and uncertainty from the United States in the region.

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