NZ Herald on Fiji

The NZ Herald editorial makes an astute judgement:

Nothing foreign diplomacy can do, however, could be as effective as the regime’s economic destruction. The arrest of Reserve Bank Governor Savenaca Narbue has been described as an “act of vandalism”. It is certainly an act of idiocy. Nobody can have the slightest confidence in the currency or the resilience of the desperately declining economy if the soldiers have usurped the country’s financial management.

In the absence of an explanation for his arrest it can only be assumed Governor Narbue was being ordered to take steps he knew to be economically disastrous. Commodore Bainimarama’s monetary expertise is probably no better than his diplomatic sense, which we know to be inept.

Exactly. The Commodore is now determining monetary policy.

Changes of government in Australia and New Zealand presented him with an opportunity to reconcile them to his coup. Sanctions applied by previous Governments had brought no sign of progress towards a restoration of democracy. The Key Government was plainly prepared to try a different approach. But it was barely in office before the commodore was threatening to expel New Zealand’s ambassador over a refusal to renew a study visa for an official’s son.

Foreign Minister ’s response was notably mild, but the threat was carried out. Even now, in his comments on the country’s constitutional destruction, Mr McCully’s remarks do not ring with the righteous indignation that used to be heard from Helen Clark and Phil Goff.

The change of Government gave Bainimarama an opportunity to get sanctions lifted. All he needed to do was make some minor steps twoards elections – such as set a date for the census.

Instead he throws out the NZ High Commissioner over nothing. And now he rules elections out for at least five years.

It is easy to criticise Australia and NZ’s responses. But I don’t actually think the Commodore is entirely rational, and am not sure any policy change from NZ or Australia would in any way change what he does.

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