A poll in Fiji

September 8th, 2011 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Most Fijians think the world should butt out and leave the country to sort out its own return to democracy, according to a poll released today. …

The Lowy Institute Poll, which last month surveyed 1032 people from ’s main island of Viti Levu, found the majority of local people opposed the international pressure and thought the country should be left alone to return to democracy.

Of those surveyed, 63 per cent either strongly disagreed or partly disagreed with the international approach taken towards Fiji in response to the coup. …

Cmdr Bainimarama’s performance as Prime Minister was highly regarded by 66 per cent of those interviewed, and 65 per cent said Fiji was heading in the right direction.

A slim majority (53 per cent) said democracy was preferable to any other form of government.

The poll’s credibility is expected to be questioned by the regime’s opponents, who say that people living in Fiji are under pressure to toe the Government line.

It sounds like the poll was done face to face, in which case it is hardly surprising that people said good things about the Commodore.

I’m not saying that the Commodore doesn’t have popular support, but you have to remember Fiji is now a country where the media is censored, you are basically not allowed to criticise the Commodore publicly and there is no scrutiny of the Government and no opposition is allowed.

Popularity alone is no excuse for dictatorship.

John Key got elected on a popular mandate. He is the country’s most popular Prime Minister ever. Key may well hold a genuine belief that the former Labour Government was corrupt. And if he had the former PM arrested, abolished Parliament, promised elections in eight years once he has got rid of the racial Maori seats and ruled with no opposition or media scrutiny – well then he might still be quite popular in the .

But would that in any way justify him doing any of that? No – not at all. A country must be a nation of laws, not power seized at gunpoint.

If the Commodore is so popular, then let the media be free, let there be an opposition, let political parties campaign and let the Commodore stand for election.

It has now been five years since he seized power. he has promised elections in 2014. I remain sceptical that these will eventuate.  I hope they will, but I just can’t see him risking a future Government ever being independent of him – as there is a risk he could then face charges.

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23 Responses to “A poll in Fiji”

  1. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    “… if he had the former PM arrested, abolished Parliament, promised elections in eight years once he has got rid of the racial Maori seats and ruled with no opposition or media scrutiny – well then he might still be quite popular in the polls.”

    An excellent set of suggestions David. Is this official National party policy?

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  2. thedavincimode (6,102 comments) says:

    “And if he had the former PM arrested”

    Happy, happy thoughts ….

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  3. wikiriwhis business (3,273 comments) says:

    I agree with the Fijiians. If the Indians had of taken over the entire fijiian economy and infrastructure no one would have said a word. But Fijiians want their country and everyone kicks up. It’s always the same. The indigenous are never allowed what’s already theirs.

    Couple this with China wanting access to Fijiian berthing and a picture emerges of Chinese encroachment in the Pacific. And our Socialist govts are obviously supporting that with their shut downs of Fiji.

    Fiji is not impt in the big picture and Oz is certainly restraining themselves. But as usual NZ is involved in something totally useless and knee jerk. Re: Sth African tour. Political maneuvering for an agenda.

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  4. Elaycee (4,058 comments) says:

    “And if he had the former PM arrested, ….promised elections in eight years once he has got rid of the racial Maori seats….”

    Now you’re talking.

    Love it. :P

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  5. mikenmild (8,721 comments) says:

    Fortunately such a scenario is impossible here, as our police and military would simply refuse to follow illegal instructions.

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  6. gump (1,228 comments) says:

    If they were asked, I’d expect North Koreans to express support for Kim Jong-Il.

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  7. wreck1080 (3,522 comments) says:

    this is what I’ve been saying, if the people love him so much, why not have an election?

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  8. backster (2,000 comments) says:

    From what I have heard from NZ domiciled Fijians and visitors to the country, the results of this poll are credible. The situation in Fiji is acceptable to Melanesia on the whole, and the Government has more credibility on the position of open corruption than their predecessors.. It seems that NZ and Australian Politicians love to strut their self importance on any stage that presents itself and SMITH on Global Warming and McCULLY on Pacific Affairs are fine examples of such pomposity. If the Leaders of New Zealand and Australia had got alongside Bananarama at the outset, and offered assistance in the form of economic experts able to identify and combat the corrupt practise of the former Government, which was acting under a constitution facilitated by a Maori clergyman, then today Fiji may well have returned to democracy, and the Commodore to the military.

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  9. Lance (2,309 comments) says:

    Quite an effective polling technique.
    Give us the answer we want or its a cattle prod to the gonads

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  10. pdm (842 comments) says:

    Adolf at No Minister has just returned from visiting Fiji. He knows Fiji well and no doubt will have a post on what he has seen and heard while there. Whale Oil is another with credibility when commenting on Fiji and he has guest Fijian bloggers from time to time. My contacts in Fiji have dwindled to amost nothing over the years but the little I do hear is that Bainimarama is on the right track.

    What is needed is for the NZ and Australian Governments to work alongside him rather than the way they are doing things at present. It was silly to follow the flawed Clark/Peters track because they were more interested in themselves than what is best for Fiji.

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  11. mikenmild (8,721 comments) says:

    A lot of people having been calling for a changed approach towards Fiji. It’s always been clear that Australia and NZ lack any real power to effect, or even influence significantly, change in Fiji. A more proactive engagement policy might provide a better dividend. Having said that, it doesn’t look like Bainimarama will be in any hurry to hold those elections…

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  12. Dave Mann (1,125 comments) says:

    Your beloved Prime Minister is already going the same way as the Commodore anyway so what’s the difference? He has stolen most of the country’s land to give it to the natives, he continues to encourage a race based government, civil service and electoral system and he has no opposition and is idolised by the country’s press.

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  13. tvb (3,937 comments) says:

    If an unconstitutional Government got a hold here I assume the army/police would be squared. But that will not happen unless there was an economic collapse. Join Key and Bill English took a big bet that the world economy would be in recovery phase by now. That is not going to happen. We may still get through providing China continues to boom. As for Fiji I simply do not care. It does not rate economically nor does it have any strategic value. It can sink into the abyss of a dark age of recurring coups and dictatorship and economic collapse.

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  14. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    Allow all the coconut curries to come here and let Micronesia sink into a mire of tribal affiliation and cronyism.
    Win Win we get a valuable resource (workers) Fiji gets to have the tribal utopia the Micronesian desire

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  15. rakuraku (162 comments) says:

    Most Fijian Indians I have spoken to agree with what Frank has done, I don’t know whether it is right or wrong, from what I believe there was corruption going on and Frank wanted to crackdown on it.

    I think the NZ and Australian Government’s should be working with Frank to get the elections held and get a full understanding of the situation, sounds like the Chinese are getting on fine with Frank and are assisting/financing the rebuild of Suva Port.

    This will give them an economic foothold on Fiji’s resources and a military naval port of convenience in the South Pacific.

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  16. wreck1080 (3,522 comments) says:

    so, what people are saying is that fiji only works under military dictatorship.

    Fiji under democracy descends into nepotism , graft, and corruption.

    What happens when they eventually get a not-so-nice dictator?

    I just can’t agree that Fiji are on the right path for the long term.

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  17. Sean (294 comments) says:

    Both Singapore and Malaysia have a system in which the rights of a particular ethnic group are preserved and in general the mass of the people there are ok with it, despite neither system matching the “high” standards of NZ democratic practices. New Zealand does business with both without qualms. When it comes to a small Pacific Island, however, NZ likes to throw its inconsequential weight about…

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  18. BlairM (2,265 comments) says:

    I’d rather have a dictator who promises to draft a decent constitution, than elections where I get to choose just what degree of spending government is going to increase by every three years… and no constitution at all.

    Actually, I think I’d just rather stay here in Texas :-P

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  19. cabbage (454 comments) says:

    Hmm, contrary to many of the comments on this post,

    Many of the Fijians I spoke to when i was there, appeared to be too scared to say anything outwardly bad about bananarama. One cabbie even indicated a gun to the head as the reason why he didnt want to offer too much opinion wise about the beloved prime minister.

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  20. CharlieBrown (784 comments) says:

    At least New Zealand is a role model for free speech, especially during election year…. not.

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  21. Dazzaman (1,114 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t think the poll was too far from what Fijians actually want. The 60/40 split is roughly indicative of the Fijian/Indian racial split. Time to bury the hatchet and get the Fijians back onside…..relaxing the rules around World Cup entry would’ve been a good start.

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  22. Dazzaman (1,114 comments) says:

    I’d rather have a dictator who promises to draft a decent constitution, than elections where I get to choose just what degree of spending government is going to increase by every three years… and no constitution at all.

    Nail on the head there BlairM…..I’ve also come to the conclusion govt spending, and their justifications for increases, are all part of the rort put upon the average Joe.

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  23. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    Fiji Indian friends of mine were of the view that the last lot in power were corrupt.
    They were glad to see the back off them also seemed to have some degree of support for the present regime.

    Bula were you from

    NewZealand

    Oh All Blacks

    Come see some carvings(made by Indians in Suva :-$ )

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