The man who started the coup culture in Fiji is back, against the man who ended it

Sitiveni Rabuka has returned to politics, this time opposing Frank Bainimarama, and has become the leader of SODELPA.

Sitiveni Rabuka has the political nous to put up a good challenge to Fiji’s prime minister Frank Bainimarama at the next election, according to a Fijian academic.

Steven Ratuva, who is the director of the MacMillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies at New Zealand’s Canterbury University, said the newly elected leader of Fiji’s main opposition party has evolved from a coup leader into a very smart politican.

Mr Rabuka, as a colonel in Fiji’s military, led the 1987 coup and later served as prime minister from 1992 to 1999.

On Friday the SODELPA party elected him to lead the party in the run up to the next election in 2018.   Read more »

Guest Post: How a conceited NZ Media failed their PM, John Key, on Fiji visit

by Thakur Ranjit Singh

As the NZ Airforce Hercules eased into a very warm Nausori Airport in Fiji with its Prime Minister John Key, Frank Bainimarama, stood tall at the tarmac, with his head held high on 9 June, 2016.

He has effectively passed a message to Australia, as well as New Zealand that he could survive without their support. So, he did. In response, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has been expedient to play by the new rules: “It’s time to put the past behind us and move forward.”  Indeed, NZ needs Fiji’s support and vote for Helen Clark to be the next Secretary General of United Nations.

Professor Robbie Robertson from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne summed it well when he spoke about NZ and Australia’s attempt at punishing Fiji and freezing it out of regional blocs. “They assumed in the past they could pressure Fiji and bring it to its knees,” says Swinburne’s Robbie Robertson. “They failed.”

So did the New Zealand media. This was an opportunity for them to appreciate and understand Fiji. But sections of a White Kiwi media has been conceited and vindictive, hence they wasted this chance. And in doing so they did not hurt Bainimarama, but, and let down their own PM, and contributed to him losing face amongst Kiwis back home. The reaction of New Zealand media to Bainimarama’s 2,400 word speech was only confined to some ten percent of that speech which kicked the butt of a wanting NZ media.  “……there appears to be a substantial body of opinion in New Zealand – led by your generally hostile media – that what has happened in Fiji somehow lacks legitimacy. That somehow, I lack legitimacy and my government lacks legitimacy. This is simply not borne out by the facts. We have moved on but it would appear that the New Zealand media has not.”

On the media ban on journalists, the Fijian PM said that no one who reported on events in Fiji fairly and in a balanced manner was excluded. While accepting fair criticism, Bainimarama said he “cannot allow the wilful propagation of false information that damages the national interest and undermines our vulnerable economy.” He effectively told NZ media owners to send someone who respected the facts and the right of people to know the truth, and not some twisted concoction.   Read more »

Fiji Ambassador elected UN General Assembly president

While the Media party wank on about Fiji and their “democracy”, and goad John Key into taking tougher action on Fiji, the rest of the world moves on.

Fiji’s ambassador to the United Nations, Peter Thomson, has been elected the president of the organisation’s General Assembly.

Mr Thomson narrowly defeated the Cypriot ambassador, Andreas Mavroyiannis, by 94 votes to 90 in a contested election.

He will begin his one-year term in September, when Denmark’s Mogens Lykketoft finishes his term.

The post is largely ceremonial, though it has a high profile and important procedural functions and Mr Thomson will oversee the process of searching for a new UN secretary-general general.    Read more »


Red Tracy and Media party self importance

The Media party would have you believe that writing one story of about 450 words per day is onerous work…even harder when they are “on the run”.

But there may be an element of the old adage about idle hands making mischief as well; stories filed on the run mean there’s less scope for the news agenda to suddenly blow out of their control.

All of which is why Frank Bainimarama’s explosive speech hitting out at criticism of his administration very nearly didn’t get covered by New Zealand media at all.

Really? Could have fooled me, there were stories posted on all media site within 230 minutes of Frank Bainimarama’s hard hitting speech…so her claims of not covering it at all are somewhat specious. Plus moaning about an arduous flight on an Air Force C-130…spare me.

So when the state banquet happened after a long day in the Air Force Hercules, an official welcome and traditional sevusevu ceremony followed by a standup with the PM, the travelling media party were feeling the pressure of too much information and too little time, with a growing list of stories to update and file.

Really? Feeling the pressure. Oh the poor dears. what a bunch of precious prima donnas.   Read more »

Labour gloating over Fiji, but reveal their strategy was just underpants stealing

Labour are gloating over John Key’s “failure” in Fiji.

Red Radio reports:

Prime Minister John Key’s attempt to rebuild New Zealand’s relationship with Fiji has backfired on him, the Labour Party says.

Mr Key described his official visit to Fiji this week as a success, despite publicly disagreeing with the country’s leader on several issues.

At a state banquet, Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama criticised the New Zealand media and defended his banning of some journalists from Fiji, claiming they dispensed with facts.

John Key asked Mr Bainimarama to reconsider the ban during the visit, and said they would have to agree to disagree.

But he said overall the trip was a success.

“The aim of this visit was really to reset the relationship, put the last sort of, I suppose eight years of the military coup behind us, really to say, look we now have a new foundation stone, we want to take the relationship from strength to strength.”

However, Labour foreign affairs spokesperson, David Shearer, said the trip was a disaster.

“It backfired completely,” he said.   Read more »

Stop your whining Barbara, it is unbecoming and not working


Barbara Dreaver is putting on a weapons grade whine louder than an air raid siren because she isn’t getting her way.

What is truly funny is watching the Media party begging John Key to help out poor Barbara when they normally just want to kick him in the balls.

Well Key’s entreaties failed…predictably…and Barbara isn’t happy.

Fiji’s Prime Minister also said that according to New Zealand media what happened in Fiji somehow lacked legitimacy.

That’s because it did lack legitimacy. The bottom line is it was a military dictatorship which ejected the democratically elected government with weapons, sacked the judges, abolished the constitution, put military personnel in top public service positions, censored the media and introduced laws forbidding groups of people meeting.

However, as Frank Bainimarama points out, things have moved on. He was democratically elected by the people, his Government is now legitimate.   Read more »

Barbara Dreaver and Michael Field, news story writing competition

Blacklisted TVNZ journalist Barbara Dreaver touches down in Fiji for first time in eight years. Image: From TVNZ One News video

Blacklisted TVNZ journalist Barbara Dreaver touches down in Fiji for first time in eight years. Image: From TVNZ One News video

“No one who reports on events in Fiji fairly and in a balanced manner is excluded. Any journalist is free to criticise my government or me in an opinion piece of report criticism by others in their news stories. But we cannot allow the wilful propagation of false information that damages our national interest and undermines our [Fijian] economy. And that is what has happened in the case of certain journalists and others from Australia.”

Bainimarama cited TVNZ footage of military tanks in the streets of Suva, even though Fiji had no tanks, and a claim that Fijian children were starving and eating grass.


Michael Field

Michael Field

Instead of being ashamed and apologetic for making up the news instead of reporting on it Barbara Dreaver and Michael Field are upset that they are no longer welcome in Fiji. To show our support for their special kind of journalism I invite you all in the comments to submit a 1-2 paragraph News report complete with accompanying photo.

*Remember that you do not need to let the truth get in the way of a good story. This is a Barbara Dreaver and Michael Field news story writing competition so we are not concerned about the facts, just a gripping tale.

To get your creative juices flowing I have submitted my own entry below.

Read more »

Red Tracy says the Fiji trip was a diplomatic disaster

John Key is definitely not going to be pleased with his Fiji trip.

Sadly it was all too predictable. The government has been misled for the better part of a decade over Fiji. National had a chance to distance themselves from the petulance of Helen Clark’s sanctions and rudeness but Murray McCully kept everything in place and the government lectured and hectored and made ultimatums to Fiji.

The Fijians ignored it all and set themselves on a path to true freedom, creating a new constitution, abandoning colonial institutions and systemic racism to create one Fiji for all Fijians irrespective of race.

The Media party and our government insisted a corrupt government elected by a corrupt electoral process be re-installed…because democracy. They keep on calling Bainimarama’s actions a coup, but in reality it was a revolution…not unlike that which England went through, or the United States…except without the bloodshed.

Don’t be fooled by the polite smiles shared by John Key and Frank Bainimarama as they greeted each other on Friday morning.

Keys delegation would have been seething over the Fijian prime minister’s extraordinary diplomatic slapdown at an official state dinner in Suva on Thursday evening.

Bainimarama used the speech – and the rare presence of New Zealand media – to rehash 10 years worth of personal grievances against New Zealand and Australia and deliberately embarrassed Key by publicly demolishing some of his talking points for their Friday meeting, including restrictions on the press.

It didn’t go unnoticed either that Bainimarama was hardly effusive in his acknowledgement of New Zealand’s assistance during Cyclone Winston, our biggest ever post World War II deployment.

If a picture can speak a thousand words it was visible on the blank faces of those seated at the top table with Key, a group which included some of his closest advisors and Foreign Minister Murray McCully.

Read more »

Red Claire reports on Key’s failure to make any headway in Fiji

John Key won’t be pleased with the results, or lack of results from his flying visit to Fiji.

Normally he is able to play Jack the Lad and charm the other leader, not this time.

Key and Bainimarama wore special matching shirts featuring the symbols of both countries – silver ferns and coconut palms.

But the talk did not quite match the shirts.

It began propitiously enough, with rugby jokes and lots of talk about ‘friends’ and ‘relationships.” Key basked in the warm welcome he was given at the sevusevu. That sevusevu took place at the vale ni bose – the base for the Great Council of Chiefs which was disbanded by Bainimarama as part of his reforms.

The literal translation of that is ‘place of bosses.’ At a speech at the banquet after the sevusevu, Bainimarama made it clear that he was the boss on his home turf and would not budge.

He delivered such a tongue lashing of his guest that when the next day’s front page of the Fiji Sun read ‘War Cry’ it took a while to realise it referred to the Pacific Nations Cup between Tonga and Fiji rather than Bainimarama.

Key’s response was more diplomatic but gave little ground. He made it clear New Zealand did not resile from its response to the coup. Nor would New Zealand bow to the demand to withdraw from the main table of the Pacific Islands Forum. “New Zealand is not going anywhere.”

Rock, say bula to hard place.   Read more »


NZ petulance towards Fiji continues

The attitude of NZ politicians towards Fiji has not improved if the interviews given by Paula Bennett and Annette King on Paul Henry are anything to go by.

The neo-colonial big brother attitude still pervades which is what Fijian PM Frank Bainimarama highlighted in his speech yesterday.

Fiji feels aggrieved by their treatment from New Zealand in the past decade, and statements like those by Bennett and King prove his point.

The Fijian Prime Minister’s slapdown at an event intended to honour John Key has been met with disapproval from MPs across the political divide.

Both Labour’s deputy leader Annette King and National Minister Paula Bennett vented their views on Paul Henry.

Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama made a lengthy speech on Thursday justifying the military coup and his ban on some New Zealand journalists.

King said it was insulting to Prime Minister John Key, especially occurring on such an international stage in front of media.

“Take what has happened in the past. Forgive, you don’t forget, move on. He didn’t. And I think to have our Prime Minister being insulted while he grandstands is just not acceptable.”

Fiji had “made progress” in their democratic governance, but freedom of press and human rights were the main issues to look at in Fiji, King said.

“To continue with the blacklists against journalists is unacceptable, and they have not reached what we would find an acceptable democracy.”

Read more »