Fiji

Another way to escape Wellington

Wellington is a cold, miserable hole. I know, I lived there for 10 years, suffered more like. I ended up with pleurisy the first winter I was there.

Well, now there is a new way to escape from Wellington…Fiji Airways.

Central New Zealanders can now say “Bula!” to Fiji Airways as their inaugural flight between Nadi and Wellington touched down at midday today.

The launch sees the beginning of a year round flight to one of New Zealand’s most popular holiday destinations with onwards connections to North America.

“A very warm welcome for Fiji Airways,” said Mayor Celia Wade-Brown. “This service provides direct links with the Pacific and offers a delightful opportunity for Fiji to be a stopover between Wellington and Los Angeles in either direction.”   Read more »

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Blunt talk by Bainimarama

I have long said that Fiji won’t take an active part in the Pacific Islands Forum.

After the way the Forum, at the behest of Australia and New Zealand, treated Fiji it isn’t surprising.

Murray McCully and John Key though think otherwise.

Well a speech yesterday at the Novotel at Lami by Fiji PM Frank Bainimarama should disabuse them of that notion.

Firstly he makes a comment about bureaucracies.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: we are 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.

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Fiji’s push back continues

After years of being treated like recalcitrant children Fiji has finally started pushing back against Australia and New Zealand.

The Prime Minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, has repeated his call for New Zealand to be kicked out of the Pacific region’s main decision-making body.

Mr Bainimarama’s foreign affairs minister told Australian officials on the weekend that either New Zealand or Australia should cease to be full members of the Pacific Islands Forum, the Australian reported.

If this did not occur, the Fijian Prime Minister wanted close ally China to be brought into the 16-member forum.

China is currently an observer and Bainimarama makes a fair point. Australia and New Zealand behaved appallingly in the past decade towards Fiji, we turned out backs on them, and it is little wonder they found new friends.

It is our fault that they are now very close with China.

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Is spying wrong?

Is spying wrong?

Well not when it is the left-wing doing it to political opponents, and using criminals to enable it.

But widely, no it is not. I almost never agree with Michael Field, especially over Fiji, but this may well be a watershed moment for both of us because I happen to agree with his column the other day about the spying revelation of Nicky Hager.

It is not paradise out there in the South Pacific and while our friendly neighbourhood might be democratic and understand rugby’s off-side rule, corruption, self-interest and idiocy stalks their capitals.

And dangerously surprising things like coups, civil war and mutinies happen, and they have a real and direct impact on New Zealand.

The Snowden Papers suggest spying in the South Pacific is something new, but the reality is that we have been spying on Pacific countries for decades.

Back in 1914 London asked New Zealand soldiers to invade German Samoa. We said yes, but asked if they could give us some details of German defences. London replied we would look it up in an encyclopaedia.

These days acting like that is not on.

Time-shift to today and pick a Pacific country that suddenly finds itself with people being killed, buildings on fire and assorted bad people breaking into police armouries – as happened in the Solomon Islands.

New Zealand’s Special Air Service was on the way to save lives – what are they expected to do for useful intelligence, Google it?

As open as Pacific states can seem to be, it takes specialist knowledge and focus to know who the real players are.

Mobile phone metadata does not provide that.

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The delusions of the left

Greg Presland writes at The Standard:

 I wondered about this because I have spent time in Western Samoa and Rarotonga since 2009 and I used local telecommunications to keep up with work and politics in Aotearoa.  The thought that this information has been sent to the Americans is somewhat scary.

What planet are these morons on?

He is scared that his innocuous communications as the trustee of David Cunliffe secret donation laundering fund might have been sent to the Americans? Or ringing his flea law office to see if another divorce case has walked in the door?

The man, if you can call him that is deluded.

No one, let alone the Americans are interested in his communciations.

Hells teeth, everyone knows I supported Frank Bainimarama and that I went to Fiji three times in two years to meet and understand the political situation in the land of my birth.

Did I communicate with people on the phone or internet about it?  Of course I did.

Am I worried the GCSB might have listened in and passed my brilliant political analysis of the situation in Fiji onto the Americans or shock horror to John Key? No I am not. I doubt anyone cares.   Read more »

Why are the Aussies surprised at their snubbing in Fiji?

It seems the Aussies are still up to their old tricks.

This morning’s Fiji Sun has a story which may give us an insight as to what awaits NZ and how we will handle what is likely to be the same treatment at  the Waitangi Day celebrations next week in Suva.

Top Government and Judiciary members conspicuously stayed away from the Australia Day celebrations in Suva last night.

It underscored continuing concerns in Suva over attitudes of Australian diplomats here, including High Commissioner Margaret Twomey, well informed sources said.

Among those not at the high commission’s function were Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Chief Justice Anthony Gates.

All were invited and all were in town.

It came at the end of a day when Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had warmly praised Fiji in a message published only by the Fiji Sun. But in marked contrast High Commissioner Twomey same time barely mentioned Fiji in a message published by both daily newspapers.

This reemphasised concerns of a chasm in attitude towards Fiji. This is between the warmth of Ms Bishop – potentially Australia’s next Prime Minister – and hardline bureaucrats and diplomats working in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

These are the people who drove the now widely discredited failed Australian policy of trying to isolate Fiji.   Read more »

Merry Christmas – My Christmas Message

Whale Oil Blogger Cameron Slater Portrait Session

Last night Pete joked that I should do a Christmas message for all the readers and commenters.

It nagged away at me, damn you Pete…

But seriously folks I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.

It has been a pretty tough year, It started really with a criminal act, the take down of the server and the hacks of my emails and social media.

Little did I know at the time what the left-wing had planned and executed.

It all unfolded as I was flying from Fiji to Seoul and when I landed at Incheon airport my phone went nuts.

I was overnighting there on my way to Israel via Paris. I put in place a plan and spoke with my friends and planned our response. I got 3 hours sleep and the next morning I was on a plane to Paris.

Can you imagine the stress I was under?

I didn’t have all the information, I had a deluge of emails and messages, plus there was a campaign underway to try and rack up my phone bills by people calling me and hanging up…there were literally hundreds of those.

Sitting on the plane to Paris was excruciating, totally out of contact, worrying about my friends who were under attack as well, and especially worrying about my family under siege by scumbag journalists doorstepping my wife and kids.

Same with the flight into Tel Aviv from Paris.

It was a rolling storm and I was half a world away and 9 hours behind in  a very strange land.

The next night there I was standing on a balcony in Tel Aviv with the city behind me talking on breakfast TV in New Zealand while it was midnight in Israel.    Read more »

Lessons not learned from Auckland

Yay! Wellington will follow my lead

Yay! Wellington will follow my lead

Wellingtonians appear to be dumber than a bag of hammers, at least the idiots at the Local Government Commission who have issued a report suggesting that Wellington could benefit from a Super City arrangement.

Have they not learned a thing from Auckland?

Goodbye Wellington, hello Greater Wellington – the capital is set to become a super-city.

The long-awaited draft recommendation from the Local Government Commission has found that the Wellington’s nine councils should unite into one council named Greater Wellington Council.

Key points of the proposed model are:

* One mayor elected at large heading a council made up of 21 members from eight wards – Rongotai, Lambton, Ohariu, Porirua-Tawa, Kapiti Coast, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and Wairarapa.

That council would be responsible for high-level, region-wide matters.

* Each ward would then also have a local board with between six to 10 elected members which would be responsible for local decisions.

* Two councillors would also be appointed to each board.     Read more »

Face of the day

Pippa Doyle

Pippa Doyle

One of New Zealand’s most secretive military organisations has opened its high-security doors for a 93-year-old woman.

Tonight, it was a meeting of war heroes when New Zealand’s Victoria Cross winner Willie Apiata kissed 93-year-old Pippa Doyle, one of the great if unknown secret agents of World War II.

Apiata was in the audience as Pippa – otherwise known as Phyllis Latour Doyle – received France’s highest decoration: the Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur, the Legion of Honour (knight class).

 DAVID WHITE/Fairfax NZ TOP HONOUR: The Legion of Honour medal which was presented to Pippa Doyle.


DAVID WHITE/Fairfax NZ
TOP HONOUR: The Legion of Honour medal which was presented to Pippa Doyle.

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Time to say goodbye to local government?

It is fast becoming time raise the prospect that Local Government is an outdated form of bureaucracy and should be dissolved in favour of simple asset management organisations that deal with infrastructure.

Local Government was fine 80 years ago and perhaps it is sufficient to argue that it was fine in the 80’s when typewritten letters were still in use. But as technology has advanced so have the manners in which we behave. Business is now able to remotely operate in all parts of the world with a single head office creating huge efficiencies and savings in cost.

For a country of four million people and five major cities the question has to be asked as to why we have 30 odd local government jurisdictions. All of which are repeating the same processes and tasks albeit rather poorly.

The amalgamation of Auckland has raised the spectre that perhaps Local Government is simply too inefficient and consumed with inward navel gazing whilst dreaming wistfully of utopian paradises. Auckland Council is a dysfunctional and toxic environment that is bloated, heavily in debt and unable to perform its functions and duties.

Rather than labour through the pain of birthing even more of these monstrosities perhaps its time to suggest that we don’t need Local Government at all.

Rather what we need is simple municipal organisations that are responsible for and manage infrastructure. In Auckland Watercare Services is an excellent example of the structure implied. Its responsibility is to manage water and sewerage infrastructure. Pretty easy. Auckland Transport – whilst somewhat confused about what it does, can easily deal with roads and trains and buses.

And one to manage parks.  Read more »