Inconsistent Sanctions

November 28th, 2007 at 7:29 am by David Farrar

One can only agree with the NZ Herald that Fiji sanctions regime is being handled inconsistently.

It was at that point the ban began to sound very arbitrary; if it suits the Government to grant an exemption it will. And not just to people distantly connected with the military. Mr Sukanaivalu is a minister of the illegitimate regime. The only discernible “value to New Zealand” in his admission for the education gathering is that it teaches us a little more about our fraying sanctions.

It is a lesson also in the arrogance of power. By what principle can the Government argue that an ordinary gathering of ministers is more important to this country than a sporting event such as the chance to host a soccer World Cup qualifying match? It behoves those who intrude on others’ activities to make sure they apply the same rules to themselves.

Fiji seems not to be suffering much from this ban, nor is the New Zealand Government. It seems to apply only to the not-so-well-connected.

Most sanctions are a farce.  Both sides know they will be dropped eventually, and that they are designed to placate people, rather than actually be effective pressure on a regime to change.

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15 Responses to “Inconsistent Sanctions”

  1. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    No sanctions against China still, though?

    ‘Inadvertent’ meetings in airports with the Dalai Lama so as not to offend our political masters in Beijing, but a very public show of principled hauteur against the tiny island of Fiji. Stand fast with the UN philosophy on Human Rights issues like the Anti-Smacking Bill, (unless UN reports criticise Maori policy, then suddenly they don’t know what they are talking about) but introduce Bills like the EFB which are contrary to HR in New Zealand.

    Very Double Standards.

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  2. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    It should be expected Lee. Labour, despite advice to the contrary from their very own research organization, passed the bill regarding the import of used vehicles. They know it will increase the risk of death as people hold on to older cars. Their own research indicated that.But, in the lead up to an election year being able to say: “Look, we did something for the environment” is more important than actually having done something. No matter the harm it brings.

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  3. Reg (544 comments) says:

    Spot on Lee.

    And we send the Poodle up to North Korea to shake the blood stained hands of a megalomaniac with promises of increased trade and at the same time punish the people of Fiji being subjects of and almost bloodless coup because its a lot easier to bully little countries!

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  4. Gerrit (105 comments) says:

    Guess the government has to be inconsistant otherwise the IRB might take the 2011 Rugby World Cup away if Fijian rugby players with military links are refused visas.

    If this government was fully “honest” with its principals it would contact the IRB forthwith and cancel the hosting rights to the World Cup.

    Think that will happen?

    Nah, didnt think so either. Another two faced Labour party inconsistency.

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  5. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    The Facist Trolls are absent this morning Must be the results of the poll showing the demise of the Communist Greens and the slow death rattles of their Dearly Beloved Heavenly Leader.

    Cant wait to send the arsehole Cullen the message,

    We won You lost Eat that

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  6. Sam Dixon (630 comments) says:

    The principle is that the ordinary people of Fiji should not suffer from sanctions, but the international and domestic image of the regime should suffer, to undermine its support base, and wherever possible foreign assistnace should be channeld through non-governmental channels.

    Of course our Government should be able to make exceptions to its sancations when it sees that doing so is in the intersts of New Zealand or the Fijian people.

    The fact is, Farrar, sanctions do often work, for starters, they were a major factor in ending apartheid, and they were effective in keeping the Iraqi army without WMDs and poorly equipped for 15 years.

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  7. Gerrit (105 comments) says:

    High ideals Sam,

    But should the sanctions against Fiji be consistant?

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  8. Joker (40 comments) says:

    Sanctions only work if the country you are imposing them on actually cares about what they will be missing out on.

    It is hilarious watching piss ant little New Zealand trying to bully probably one of the only nations in the world it can.

    If any one has actually taken a look at the aid we give to Fiji it is not in a form of a cheque to their Government with a note saying “sort yourself out”. A large majority of it is spent sending NZ social workers over there to help the Fijian people salve the pain that came from colonial oppression and other such worth while causes.

    Bananarama must be nearing breaking point.

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  9. Peak Oil Conspiracy (3,136 comments) says:

    Sam Dixon:

    The principle is that the ordinary people of Fiji should not suffer from sanctions, but the international and domestic image of the regime should suffer, to undermine its support base, and wherever possible foreign assistnace should be channeld through non-governmental channels.

    You dress this “principle” up as an objective statement, but it’s your subjective opinion. What sanctions would you impose on, for example, Pakistan given its anti-democracy lurch into dictatorship? What sanctions would you impose on, as a second example, Zimbabwe given its economic mismanagement and suppression of dissent?

    The fact is, Farrar, sanctions do often work, for starters, they were a major factor in ending apartheid, and they were effective in keeping the Iraqi army without WMDs and poorly equipped for 15 years.

    I’m fairly certain – but happy to be proved wrong – that if I went back far enough, I’d find commentary from you criticising the Iraqi sanctions. The general argument was that the common people suffered twice – once at the hand of Hussein, the second as a result of the sanctions (which were further corrupted through the oil-for-food scandal). By focusing on the Iraqi army, you conveniently ignore this.

    My point is that international sanctions aren’t as simple as your “principle” would have us believe.

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  10. Sam Dixon (630 comments) says:

    Gerrit – they are consistant – no delaing with the military and the regime except when New Zealand’s nationa linterst or the interests of the Fijian people are better served by having contact with them.

    POC- We’ve sanctioned PAkistan by kickng it out of the commonwealth, there are also UN sanctions on Zimbabwe’s leadrs I understand.

    ANyway, those countries we have very little to do with, Fiji is in our backward and we are one of its major trade partners – our sanctions can have impact.

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  11. Reg (544 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t upset Fiji to much, their armed forces are 1 and 1/2 times the size of ours. The blighters might invade us!

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  12. Gerrit (105 comments) says:

    So Sam,

    In 2011 when the Fijians come here for the Rugby World Cup (and the Wellington Sevens before then) you are betting not one Fijian player will have any links to the militiary.

    If any do then they will have to be barred to be consistant with the football and netball examples do this year.

    I would think the IRB will be concerned that political sanctions could harm Fiji’s paticipation at the world cup.

    They might (like FIFA have done with the U17 Womens World Champs) take the hosting rights away.

    Bet this labour government (which you hope will be in power at the time of the 2011 elections) would be most concerned at that, no?

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  13. Craig Ranapia (1,915 comments) says:

    To be quite cynical about it, who gives a rat’s rectum about some boring little conclave of educrats? Not much of a change for Winnie and Helen to beat their chests about how tough they’re being.

    And while Sam is spinning heroically, I think he’s missed the point – how exactly was New Zealand’s ‘national interest’ served by Sukanaivalu (who is a fracking Minister in the Fijian government), while excluding a netball player whose biggest sin is that her father-in-law is a military officer?

    As Einstein once said, nothing is more destructive of respect for government and the rule of law than laws that are either unenforceable or not applied to all equally.

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  14. RRM (9,638 comments) says:

    One possible sanction that might effectively *Hurt The Regime Not The People* might be for a squad from our SAS to go in and rescue that NZ citizen who is being beaten half to death in jail over there…?

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  15. marius lacatus (1 comment) says:

    Sam,

    These sanctions are a complete shambles, even a mere football fan can work that out. The longer the Government denies there is a problem, the bigger their hole will be.

    Please explain what almighty principle justifies a policy that permits access to the country for the Fijian Netball President, whose son is on active duty and whose husband is a military reservist, but denies access to a Fijian football goalkeeper whose only tenuous link to the military is via his partner’s (note they were not even married) father. That is not justifiable. That is a policy stuff up, plain and simple. Sloppy design. At the very least, admit it and fix it. Football fans have been jumping up and down about this mess and these inconsistencies for weeks on their website – http://www.yellowfever.co.nz. Their comments were even picked up in the Fiji Times – http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=74866

    The fact the military regime’s Education Minister has now also been permitted access shines an additional light on the sanction design and enforcement. This “regional interest” argument Peters is trying to run is complete bollox. Actually i thought the regional interest would be better served by a sensibly structured visa regime that deals with Fiji in a coherent, consistent and credible manner. This does not.

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