Two developments in Suva provide renewed evidence of the regime’s distaste for democracy in any real meaning of the word. They must surely have dismissed any thoughts among transtasman officials and politicians of achieving change by appeasement.
This is the unfortunate thing, with the timing. I think NZ, and Australia, were edging towards a more constructive relationship. But this draft decreee pushes them in the other direction.
First, Fiji’s just-published draft of a Media Industry Development Decree would virtually eliminate freedom of expression in the country. It is a remarkable document, one which would make Zimbabwe proud and Singapore blush.
I am one of those who believe taking away a voice is worse than taking away a vote.
The decree protecting the regime from prosecution is a more abstract threat to democracy – a coup leader’s fantasy that surely, once this sorry interregnum is over, will be declared null and void by a legitimate court – with the case against him then reported by a free press. That time can come, though, only if New Zealand and Australia continue to hold hard to democratic principle and the regime is subjected to the greatest sanction, the decision of the Fijian people to call time on their dictator.
This is why I don’t think the Commodore will even surrender power. He has no exit plan which guarantees him immunity from prosecution.
The Dom Post looks at trade with the US:
The US has much to gain from improved access to Asian markets for its goods but it is an unsentimental dealmaker, which swaps its free trade principles for self-interest when it sits down at the negotiating table.
The new ambassador to Washington, Mike Moore, has work to do. So does Mr Key, who is hoping for a formal invitation to the White House later this year and the heft that will give him with US business and farming organisations.
And the ODT talks apples:
The Australian apple market is not huge and estimates for New Zealand exports range around $15 million to $20 million per annum, small but significant.
On the other hand Australian apple consumption is much lower than New Zealand’s and better prices and more competition could be what is needed to stimulate demand.
It can be a win-win,
Australia is in this instance, however, a blatant hypocrite.
It battles for free trade in agriculture while putting up several specific agricultural barriers to protect its own, including against New Zealand apples.
Yes, and if they refuse to act on this issue, will risk undermining their credibility as the WTO can then approve trade sanctions against them.