Burma vs. Fiji

Murray McCully is in trouble for spending up on some flights in Burma. He really shouldn’t be in trouble for that. I certainly don’t begrudge him organising some safer flights than otherwise available in-country.

Labour have gone down the wrong path by using deliberately leaked information from fat, bloated civil servants that no one except Phil Goff likes.

Where they should have gone after McCully is the rank hypocrisy in swanning around a country ruled by a military junta, with a poor record on human rights, a country one of our SOEs (Kordia) is making a poultice of cash from, where we have no sanctions in place, we maintain diplomatic relations with and have our Foreign Minister visit and spend up large.

Meanwhile he refuses to talk to Fiji. Refuses to offer assistance to them, maintains “smart sanctions” against key people, blocks sports people travelling to NZ, places travel bans on senior officials and bad mouths the country at every opportunity. Fiji isn’t at war internally, it is perfectly safe to travel everywhere as many Kiwis do,with Fiji being a preferred holiday destination.

The contrast couldn’t be more stark. It disgusts me how New Zealand sucks up to appalling dictators and yet wags its finger at Fiji like a naughty school child. Little wonder we have ceded hegemony in the Pacific to China.


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  • dutyfree

    I flew to Mynamar on holiday from Bangkok about 19 years ago.  There were daily flights by Thai Airways and there still are. Nothing unsafe about it.

  • dutyfree

    9 years ago that was

  • LesleyNZ


  • BJ

    I like Frank and when I next go to Fiji I’m going to go and see him.
    NZ Government is ‘cutting of its nose to spite its face’ and may soon regret their stance. The door to Fiji is wide open to China and very soon there will be no room in the house for NZ and the door will be shut. The Pacific needs to be cohesive not divided.

    Hey – a poll on who thinks we should engage with Fiji again must be due

    • politically unstable

       The door is more than open to China. They are there now building roads and residential developments, and have a small hotel near Nadi. NZ and Aussie have been very silly.

  • parorchestia

    I agree with you about Fiji.  Talk about two-faced policy.  

    • Waka

       Bring back Rambuka

  • ArranH

    Burma is having elections, moving towards democracy, and McCully is right to be there, aiding that move in the right direction, and his being there will help encourage that by showing that the wider world supports that move. Fiji keeps delaying elections, McCully being there would make little to no difference to that. Burma wants and needs our support and appears to be using it to move in the right direction. Fiji just wants our money, and has, until we pulled the money, been taking the money with one hand and pulling the finger with the other. McCully is doing the right thing.

    • politically unstable

       hmmmm 2014 has been the date in Fiji for quite some time. If they wanted the NZ money, they would have changed what their plans are. They have gone on their own path regardless of what NZ demanded. Neither you or I can state with any support if that will happen or not (elections) so a mute point.

      Anyway, Fiji continue to do business with China (as does NZ) in spite of their (China’s) political structures.

      Democracy is a funny thing…South Africa used to have a racist constitution and now it has been fixed. Fiji also had a racist constitiution and they are doing their best to fix that. Merely having elections does not define a democracy, – the constitution needs to be democratic as well.

    • LesleyNZ

      Arran H – Please tell us all the times Fiji has delayed the elections? I recall a date was set that changed – once – but Fijian Govt have consistently said for the past few years that it will be November 2014. How many times do they need to say this? The Fijian Govt is working through their “Roadmap to Democracy 2009-2014” timetable and I believe they are pretty much on track. Check it out here: http://www.sfcco.gov.fj/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=41&Itemid=51  
      You talk with little knowledge of Fiji. The Fijian Govt have stated many times that they want to stand on their own two feet and not rely on handouts. Arran H – you shouldn’t believe all that is published in NZ MSM.

      ‘Don’t depend on Aust, NZ’ – http://www.fijisun.com.fj/2009/09/11/%E2%80%98don%E2%80%99t-depend-on-aust-nz%E2%80%99/ 
      [Fiji needs to stand on its own two feet and not depend on Australia and New Zealand, a government official told employers last night.
      Speaking at the Fiji Employers Federation dinner at the Holiday Inn, Minister of Commerce Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum said the government is now focused on nothing but the economy.
      “There was a lot of controversy when this government came to power,” Mr Sayed Khaiyum said.
      “And the political stand is different from the stand in the 1987 and the 2000 coup.
      “NZ and Australia have taken their political stand against Fiji and you the employers should realise the very issue relating to independence or pertaining a strong foundation in business.
      “Fiji needs to stand on its own and move away from dependency,” he said.
      For instance, Mr Sayed Khaiyum said businesses should not depend entirely on concession.
      “If you believe that it is a God given right to have concession then you should not be operating in the market.”
      He said businesses, workers and trade unions should now work together and focus on Fiji.
      “That is the very reason the Prime Minister (Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama) has called on business houses to attend a forum before the Budget so their views can be taken on board,” Mr Khaiyum said.
      Is this not what we would want for all Pacific Island nations – to grow up and stand on their own two feet and not have to rely on big brother?]

  • Landy

    McCully’s own comments suggest this was a systematic, strategic, warming-up move, designed to encourage the moves towards democracy.  They move in a more democratic direction, so we do something to say, “Great, that’s good.”   Ours is an important gesture of support, correct, important, same as for any other behaviour-shaping.  
      As for those who moaned about expense, maybe they should enquire into the cost of Dr Cullen giving away half the Waikato River to local Maori, in late August 2008, thus ensuring he got Nanaia Mahuta re-elected for Labour against strong opposing candidates.   They had sought it for years.   Never noticed much complaint about that.   What’s the money value of half our biggest river?
      Maybe those who would have preferred the Minister to have taken local transport have never stood at an Asian check-in desk and been told that their booked international travel that night was not going to happen because their form of visa wasn’t familiar to local staff.   (It was me, the form of visa I had was absolutely right, it was August 2010, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Airlines, and the bottom line was $2000 cost to me and 3 days of my time in India lost, with never any compensation).