Fiji tells NZ and Australia to get stuffed

Fiji, and more particularly the Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama are telling New Zealand and Australia to get stuffed.

Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama didn’t show his face at the Pacific Islands Forum but that didn’t stop him stealing the show.

There’s one hell of a power struggle going on in the Pacific and it’s never more evident than when the leaders all gather in one place for the annual leader’s retreat.

Last year in Papua New Guinea that strong-arming was clear when Prime Minister John Key and then Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott turned up to the post-forum press conference – a media event usually fronted by smaller Pacific nations.

Key and Abbott were there to keep a lid on the growing tensions between them and smaller nations over the lacklustre targets being set heading into the Paris climate change conference only a few months later.

Nobody was more surprised than the Kiwi and Aussie media contingent when they waltzed in and the heat coming off then Kiribati President Anote Tong – the Pacific poster boy for climate change – raised the temperature in the room ten-fold.

This year that power play has continued with some smaller Pacific nations not wanting French Polynesia and New Caledonia to join the forum.

Key and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull were supportive of the bid and after years of trying, the French finally got their foot in the door this year.This is an opportunity for France to join the big boys table and exert some power in the region as well.

It is this sort of meddling that gets Key and Turnbull in trouble with the Fijian PM. He’s not having a bar of it.

The biggest threat to all of this is Bainimarama and he’s been beavering away forming a sub-group within the Pacific as he tries to claw back some of the control – he’s also trying to keep Samoa at bay as they continually push for a greater presence.

So what better timing for Bainimarama than the night before the leader’s retreat – which he never planned to turn up at – to orchestrate a Cabinet reshuffle that saw his foreign minister in Pohnpei stripped of the role while he’s sat at the same table as Key and Turnbull.

Ratu Inoke Kubuabola is seen as a threat by Bainimarama and he knew he had to cut off his oxygen.

He then proceeded to start arresting Opposition MPs letting it rain chaos in Fiji at the exact same time the leaders were meeting in Pohnpei.

Nice attempt at smearing Fiji. The simple fact is that the three who were arrested broke the law…one that has been in existence for quite some time. Rabuka is a ratbag, he conducted two coups himself and achieved little or nothing other than top cement in place a constitution that caused the 2006 coup and 2007 revolution. For him to be attending an illegal meeting to discuss the constitution of Fiji is somewhat ironic. There is much talk in the NZ media about Rabuka being an MP…he is not…he is the leader of SODELPA outside of parliament after rinsing Mrs. Ro Temumu Kepa

What better way to steal the headlines from what is going on at the forum table than throw a match on the fire in your own country.

Bainimarama is never going to come back to the forum table but that’s not going to stop him going in for the kill – only problem is he now has the French to contend with as well.

There is no match or even a fire. Most Fijian’s think Rabuka is a ratbag. Frank Bainimarama was elected in a landslide and by all accounts, he will continue to be elected in a landslide as Fijian’s enjoy a resurgent economy, better employment opportunities, and free education.

The public statements from Australian High Commissioner Maggie “on the hill” Twomey and the constant meddling by NZs High Commissioner Mark Ramsden, in local affairs, just keep the anti-NZ and anti-Australian sentiment bubbling along. Then when you have Murray McCully issuing statements criticising Fijian laws you really wonder if NZ wants a meaningful relationship with Fiji at all. Fijians for their part laugh at New Zealand’s own laws, particularly our catch and release programme for criminals.

NZ and Australia need to stop sticking their noses into Fijian domestic politics.

 

-Fairfax

  • RightyTighty LeftyLoosey

    “NZ and Australia need to stop sticking their noses into Fijian domestic politics”, totally agree with that so long as we withdraw our aid money and disaster relief assistance along with it.

    • Max

      Exactly.The only thing keeping most Pacific nations going is Australian and NZ aid .I was in Vanuatu after a cyclone and Australian ships and planes were there in numbers with support and supplies.

    • Hard1

      Funny how we can’t likewise stick our noses into beneficiary families under the same pretext.

    • spanishbride

      With that reasoning we will save a bundle on all our charitable aid to Islamic refugees.

    • Aucky

      You will never get that argument across the line. We are talking humanitarian aid directly to the Fijian people and there’s way too much goodwill here in NZ for that style of ban ever to be considered.

    • We withdrew aid monies years ago…but your suggestion is ridiculous that aid money be tagged.

      • RightyTighty LeftyLoosey

        According to MFAT, we gave 15.4 Million in 2015/16 so not sure why you think we have withdrawn aid money. And YES those funds ARE tagged.

        • Fine stop it…$15 million not much, the Chinese will fill that hole in a heart beat. How’s your plan looking now Sherlock?

          • Aylene Price

            You on your period? I know you’re the boss, but those comments were all a bit unnecessarily nasty weren’t they?

            I don’t regard aid given as being a blunt instrument to have Fiji (or others) dance to NZ’s tune, but I do wonder whether we need to re-look at the aid levels on based on “Fijian’s enjoy a resurgent economy, better employment opportunities, and free education.” Absolutely nothing to do with the internal politics mentioned which are being reported in a very skewed manner.

  • LesleyNZ

    And then there is NewstalkZB’s Rachel Smalley entertaining Michael Field early this morning. Have a listen to his smooth talking at the link below. Field introduced the word “feral” to the equation. Why would Rachel rate Michael Field as a credible Pacific Journalist when he has no problem in not telling the truth to the point of making up stories about happening in Fiji? Frances Cook wrote the story? Who is Frances Cook?
    “Pacific Affairs journalist Michael Field told Rachel Smalley the Prime Minister seems to have gone feral after a lot of people boycotted last week’s new public holiday “Constitution Day”. Field said Rachel Smalley that during John Key’s state visit to Fiji, he was significantly insulted by Mr Bainimarama.”Do we play this particular game again? I think from our regional perspective, our security etc, we’ve got to watch very closely here and the next day or two is going to be crucial.”
    Govt concerned after Fijian opposition leaders arrested
    http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/world/govt-concerned-after-fijian-opposition-leaders-arrested/
    Interesting – NewstalkZB posted the interview and story at 5:13am yet Rachel never spoke to Michael Field until well after 5:45am. Rachel should have disclosed that it was a prerecorded interview with Michael Field – shouldn’t she have? http://120.138.20.16/WeekOnDemand/ZB/auckland/2016.09.12-05.45.00-S.mp3 Listen at 06:26.

    • spanishbride

      Michael Field uses the word feral to describe a democratically elected politician and we hear crickets chirping. We use it to describe life endangering behaviour ( driving drunk, crashing a car into someone’s bedroom killing a passenger ) and the MSM go nuts!
      * Note at the time we called the passenger feral we believed from the news report at that time that he was the driver NOT the passenger. They edited the article afterwards to make it appear we had deliberately attacked the passenger who was killed.

      • LesleyNZ

        Yes thought the same – and I do remember that the original West Coast feral story was edited afterwards.

  • Nessie

    ‘catch and release’. I like that :)

  • axeman

    !00% agree, also Frank has been supported by other major nations happy to help out and appear friendly to get a foot hold in the Pacific. NZ & Australia need to be careful and I would suspect that the USA will be asking Australia & NZ to be a bit more accommodating

    • Aucky

      Fiji is perfectly positioned geographically in the Pacific for Bainimarama to have America’s nuts firmly in a vice. A strong Chinese military base in Fiji will change the geopolitical map of the Pacific. Bainimarama know that and he can give the proverbial middle finger to JK and Turnbull to his hearts content.

      • axeman

        Exactly!! which is why I think John Key will play it differently this time round, if he is smart. Actually it could be a good incentive for the Yanks to help us out to help Fiji.
        With the escalation on the South China Seas the USA is only to mindful of what a powerful threat they are.
        Franks is after all a smart military man and he knows that this drives a lot of foreign policy. Whats more he knows he has the local support. I have a sister who lives up there and says that what he has achieved up there is outstanding. Frank is going nowhere.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    The General had to flag away the Pacific Forum as he seems to have his own local problem with those who may not be so much for ‘im. Great to see democracy in the Pacific. Tui anybody?
    When immigration filtering is next implemented it would be a good time to review the easy access to NZ acting like the neck of a funnel for the needy. Need a benefit, need a house or need a warm dry cell.

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