Voreqe Bainimarama

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 »

New poll puts Bainimarama way out in front

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A new poll by the Fiji Sun has current Prime Minister?Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama well in front ahead of elections later in the year.

The Fiji Sun reports:

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama is an overwhelming early leader as preferred Prime Minister. That?s according to the first FIJI SUN Poll for the general elections.

The polls are to be conducted weekly until the general elections by the CJP Pacific/Razor market research teams. The first week of polling conducted in the week till February 21 reflects similar results in a trial poll conducted the previous week.? Read more »

About Fiji’s new constitution, and the new era that is dawning

I was born in Fiji in 1968, before independence. Despite living almost all of my life in New Zealand I have an affinity I find I can’t shake with Fiji.

The few times I have been there i have found a country so different from that portrayed by our media and disaffected Fijians now living, like me in Auckland.

I have found the government and people in it very approachable from the Prime Minister down. If you believed our media and politicians you would think there are armed soldiers crawling all over the place…not even in government buildings when I went for meetings, including on the same floor as the PMs office I never once saw a firearm.

So I have backed the reforms that Commodore Bainimarama has sought to being to Fiji and this year we will see that come to fruition.

Thakur Ranjit Singh has written some guest posts for me before about Fiji and he has a guest post himself on his blog from Rajendra Prasad that echoes many of my thoughts regarding Fiji and the lack of foresight shown by New Zealand and Australia in dealing with and assisting Fiji.

Fiji?s persistent foray in breaking and making Constitutions has produced the fourth Constitution, which is founded on ?one person, one vote, one value.??In launching the Constitution, on August 22, 2013, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said that they had to destroy the notion that those born to privilege (meaning Chiefs) had special status over the rest simply by their right of birth. The previous three Constitutions had provided for special place and privileges for the Chiefs. Morphing the chiefly system into the democratic structure was like mixing oil and water. The two were incompatible. The chiefs became powerful allies of successive Governments and when they lost power, as in 1987 and 1999, they landed their support for coups against democratically elected Governments to restore their comrades back into power.?This, in essence, became the wicked face of democracy in Fiji. ? Read more »

Some perspective on the Fiji bashings, some dodgy ratbags got their beans

News was released this week about some appalling bashings that?occurred?then some escaped prisoners were re-captured. The video evidence shows some pretty rough justice, and from our Westernised point of view looks pretty bad.

I didn’t blog anything about it at the time because I wanted to talk to my contacts in Fiji, both in business and the general community about the background to the escape…and the background of the people in the video.

Justice in Fiji is a wee bit rougher than what we would expect. But this was over the top, but when you put in some perspective about the Naboro prison escape in September 2012 you can understand the anger and?retribution. That by no means ?justifies it, but it simply provides perspective.

The Fiji Sun at the time wrote about the escape and the crime wave throughout Suva that resulted:

Five violent criminals who escaped from Naboro prison on Monday were yesterday being hunted in a massive joint operation by Police and Corrections officers.

Police were trying to establish if the escapees were involved in a spate of robberies in Suva after their escape, Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said.? Read more »

Has Pete Hodgson misled Parliament?

I ask the question in all seriousness because yesterday in Parliament Pete Hodgson said not once but twice that Dr Tony Bierre was a National Party candidate at the local body elections for the Auckland District Health Board.

[quote]Hon PETE HODGSON: In law, the answer is that it is the responsibility of the boards and the membership comprising the boards. The new National Party members on the Auckland District Health Board in December 2004 were given a presentation on conflicts of interest soon after the election, along with other board members. The presentation was prepared by Richard Westlake, a very experienced member of many boards. Dr Bierre and Jackie Blue could not have been in any doubt of their obligations.

and this;

Hon PETE HODGSON: Dr Bierre is a National Party member on the National Party ticket for the Auckland District Health Board. I find it interesting that in the space of 18 months?[/quote]

As you can see from Dr Tony Bierre's profile for his election to the Auckland DHB he is clearly identified as a Citizens & Ratepayers NOW candidate. It is also a matter of public record that the National Party does not stand candidates in ANY local body elections ANYWHERE.

Pete Hodgson as the Labour Party strategist must know those points. He must therefore have intentionally lied to parliament to attempt to score a political point in trying save his government from the embarrasment of despite knowing that Tony Bierre had a conflict of interest they did nothing.

Still lying to parliament is nothing new for this bunch of genetic liars.

Lab Test Scandal

There is much frothing and spitting about the current Auckland Lab Tests scandal. Frothing and spitting from both sides of the debate, but in the last couple of days some clear obfusscation on behalf of the left.

Russell Brown in his posting on March 22 did a "pot, kettle,black" piece about C&R Now? and conflict of interest and linked Dr Tony Bierre? through his profile he submitted for the ADHB board elections.

Similarly Helen Clark, Annette King and Wayne Brown have sought to malign Dr Tony Bierre in the press, essentially calling him a liar.

Now, I hold no opinion that is good about Dr Tony Bierre, but a quick look at the evidence kindly linked for us by Russell Brown would suggest that the Board Chair at the very least knew of a potential conflict of interest from even before the onset of negotiations. Why?

Well look at the last paragraph of Dr Tony Bierre's profile submitted BEFORE the election of him to the board.

[quote]Conflict of Interest Statement
I hereby disclose the following conflict of interest with the Auckland District Health Board that may arise in the future: I am currently employed as a part-time Senior
Lecturer at the University of Auckland School of Medicine. The Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) is the major funder of pathology services in the Auckland region. All pathologists working in the region served by the ADHB are either employed by the ADHB or have a contractual relationship with the ADHB. At present I am not employed by ADHB nor have a contractual relationship with the ADHB.
However there is a possibility that this may change in the future and may represent a conflict of interest.[/quote]

It is there in black and white, issued before his election to the board. The issue always was and remains an issue of poor governance and contracts management on behalf the three Auckland District Health Boards. More importantly it shows that Wayne Brown and Ross Keenan in particular, being the handpicked servants of the government are the one most accountable.

It is telling when neither the Minister nor the Prime Minister refuse to express confidence in the board even when they are running around obfuscating at the same time. it is a clear double strategy in place….step one hurl dirt and innuendo, if they don't buy that step two sack the board…the only problem is they haven't seen through to step three, the public don't buy that either and toss out the government.