Suva

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 »

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 »

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Harden up cupcakes – Good enough for the troops, good enough for you

The Media party are all having a wail about having to shit in a bucket on?the?flight up to Fiji.

The Media party decided to travel for free with the PM up to his visit in Fiji.?Clearly they were more focussed on scoring a free trip to Fiji without realising that the PM was flying directly to Suva and landing at Nausori airport. For those who have never flown into Nausori it is rather agricultural to say the least. It is in fact a regional airport with a runway length of just 1868m. To put that in perspective Wellington airport is 2081m and considered rather short for commercial flights.

Normal commercial airliners operated from NZ like?the Boeing?737 or the A320 could all land there but they would be struggling to take off again with their require runway length for takeoff being several football field longer than Nausori. So it was a C-130 Hercules that was flown from NZ to Suva, because even the small Boeing 757 operated by the Air Force can’t go into Nausori.

Now I don’t know about you dear readers but I’ve been in?the?back of a C-130 Hercules…and comfort is not what it was built for. It is a military transport plane. That said the facilities are good enough for our troops but obviously not good enough for the pampered bottoms of our luvvies in the ?Media party.

Red Tracy is upset about the toilet facilities on a Hercules:

I’m balanced on one leg with my pants down and all that stands between me and a plane full of diplomats,?military personnel, journalists and the prime minister’s delegation is a tarpaulin hanging from the roof.

These are the “facilities” on board the Air Force Hercules, prime minister John Key’s other “VIP plane” during international travel.

The loo is a bucket and I’ve just lost the toilet roll down the side. ? Read more »

Who cares where Fiji buys its weapons from

The Media party is all upset over Fiji buying some new weapons…despite the news being more than a month old.

A shipment of 20 containers arrived in Suva last month that contained weapons worth about $10 million, and the country’s defence minister said his government was negotiating for a second shipment.

Both Suva and Moscow said the weapons were for Fiji’s UN peacekeepers who were operating in volatile areas like the Golan Heights and Sinai.

Mr Key said he was not particularly worried about the arms shipment.

“It depends on what that weaponry is going to be used for. Our main point really when it comes to Fiji and any other Pacific countries is that whatever they do with anybody else is a matter for them.

“As long as they understand that the responsibility rests with them, and that certainly includes soft loans as that they can get, not so much from Russia, but from other countries.” ? Read more »

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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 »

If brains were dynamite…

If brains were dynamite?Ro Teimumu Kepa wouldn’t have enough to blow her nose.

Snippy old Sally Rounds of Radio NZ interviews her keyboard.

Fiji’s main opposition party has pledged to move a motion to launch a parliamentary inquiry into last week’s election.

The leader of Fiji’s main opposition party, Ro Teimumu Kepa.

Opposition parties claim they have evidence of irregularities, including ballot box tampering, broken seals and extra materials in boxes.

The leader of the Sodelpa party, Ro Teimumu Kepa, says a bipartisan, independent parliamentary inquiry needs to be launched into aspects of the election, where the public can be given the opportunity to come forward and give evidence.

“This will be the first test of transparency and accountability for the Bainimarma government. If their victory is legitimate then they have nothing to fear from such an inquiry.”

Ro Teimumu Kepa says the evidence is being collated into a report for the National Executive Committee.

A preliminary report by the multinational observer group has said the elections were credible.

Read more »

Could Murray McCully sort out his idiot department over Fiji please

Fiji has had the election that was promised, it was declared free and fair by international observers but still New Zealand continues to insult Fiji via MFaT.

Frank Bainimarama has been sworn in after being democratically elected and still MFaT is meddling with advisories.

On MFaT’s Safe Travel website they state:

Fiji

And these words of warning:

Some government departments and statutory authorities are still headed by ex-military personnel.? The government also has a degree of influence over the judiciary and some media outlets remain cautious about reporting anti-government views.

The security situation in Fiji is currently stable, however the elections and process of formation of a new government may result in increased political tensions. New Zealand citizens throughout Fiji are advised to be security conscious at all times and to avoid any demonstrations, large gatherings and areas of military activity.

What a load of horse shit. Frankly that is insulting.? Read more »

Bainimarama sworn in as Fiji PM

 Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil Media

Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil Media

The election is finally over in Fiji and Fiji First won 32 out of 50 seats, with nearly 60% of the vote.

Frank Bainimarama has been sworn in.

Fiji’s former military ruler was sworn in as prime minister after winning 60 percent of the vote in the South Pacific nation’s first elections since he seized power eight years ago.

Fiji, a tropical archipelago about 3,200 km (2,000 miles) east of Australia, has suffered four coups since 1987, the latest in 2006 led by former army chief Voreqe “Frank” Bainimarama, whose Fiji First Party will hold a wide majority 32 of the 50 seats in the new parliament.

Wednesday’s election was broadly praised by a 92-member international observer group, despite opposition accusations of fraud and allegations the regime had used its control of state media to boost Bainimarama’s campaign and ignore opponents.

“I will serve the country as the prime minister of all Fijians,” Bainimarama told Reuters following a swearing-in ceremony at Government House in the capital, Suva.

The election has been closely watched by neighbours Australia and New Zealand, the region’s economic and diplomatic power houses, eager to welcome the country back to the fold of normal relations after eight years of isolation.

Some diplomats I spoke to in Fiji were hoping there would be a thaw in relations with NZ.

That is unlikely.

Fijians are very upset over the way they have been treated by the NZ and Australian governments.

Fiji has made new friends now….ones we let in the door with our intransigence.

The country now has emphatically rejected the racism of the past, and has embarked on a new beginning.

 

– Fairfax

I tried, I really did, but couldn’t find a single road block, goon squad or government censor anywhere

The Grand Pacific Hotel, redeveloped and open for business

The Grand Pacific Hotel, redeveloped and open for business ? ? ? ? Photo/ CamSlater, Whaleoil Media

I have spent three days in Fiji, a short trip transiting onto my next destination.

After my interview with Frank Bainimarama I received emails, threats, and comments that basically said that I didn’t know what I was talking about. That Suva wasn’t safe, that there were government goon squads roaming the city setting dogs onto people and breaking up groups of 5 ?or more, and that the media were muzzled by government censors, not to mention the road blocks and general intimidation and subjugation of the general population at the point of a gun. In fact I never saw a gun, at all, and trust me as someone who is interested in such things I was looking.

Well, I can tell you that despite asking and looking for all of these things that we have been told exists by the disaffected and the complicit media in New Zealand, I could find none of those things.

I went to several press conferences where media turned up, asked questions, received answers all without any Police or Army people present. ? Read more »

Will Fiji’s elections be free & fair?

Mohammed-Saneem

Supervisor of Elections at Fiji Elections Office, Mohammed Saneem Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil Media

I am in Suva at the moment investigating Fiji’s path to democracy.

Today I visited the Fiji Elections Office, their Electoral Commission, and had an in-depth discussion with the Supervisor of Elections,?Mohammed Saneem.

My questions and discussion focused on whether or not Fiji would be having free and fair elections on September 17.

In past elections there have been several incidences of vote tampering, ballot box stacking and in one particular example more votes cast than registered electors in a constituency.

Despite international observers in the past declaring elections free and fair it is obvious to all that Fiji’s past elections have been far from that.

Independence of Fiji Elections Office

The Fiji Elections Office is independent, just like New Zealand’s Electoral Commission. They are charged with overseeing the election and electoral law, which at present is by decree, but it is the law nonetheless.

I spent quite a bit of time understanding their voting processes and there are some quite innovative techniques they are utilising to combat voter fraud and vote rigging.

Voter Registration

The first step has been a comprehensive voter education and registration process that has been running for two years. Registered voters have a voter id card, this is not at all like the Easy Vote card that is so easily rorted in NZ. ?The Fijian voter registration card is a photo id, it also contains biometric data (fingerprints) which require a match of at least 8 points.

The Fijian registered voters carry these cards everywhere. When I asked my cab diver last night, when I arrived in Suva, if he was registered to vote, he reached into his pocket and flourished it with obvious pride. Everyone eligible and registered to vote has one of these and a random sample on the streets shows that everyone without fail carries it. What this means is that only registered voters will be able to vote, and they require the photo and biometric identification in order to vote. This is a significant advancement over our voter registration processes in NZ. I should know as I have just watched my 18 year old son register to vote in NZ and our processes are farcical to say the least compared to what Fiji has initiated. ?? Read more »