I may not think he has achieved anything much in the job, and he let his obsession with the media dominate his first year, but I don’t have too major a disagreement with the sentiments Winston Peters laid out at Orewa, in two areas.
Yet there seems to be an irrational, and growing, sense of sport among some quarters in New Zealand where it is considered a perverse badge of honour to take cheap shots at the Australians and Americans.
These groups are quick to criticise what they disagree with and so so slow to acknowledge the huge effort that both nations put into the Pacific and beyond.
However as Murray McCully points out, some of the worst offenders have been his colleagues and even himself. It was Mallard and Peters with their bogus claims of US funding and control of National which forced the Ambassador to ask to be left out of our election. And let us not forget Helen and Jim at various times also.
The other worthwhile Peters comment is this:
There was always a simple solution to any concerns that Commodore Bainimarama had over Fijian government policies.
It is a solution that remains the most salient now. He should simply resign his military role and contest transparent democratic elections.
If he has the will of the people, then rather than having to appoint himself Prime Minister, he could hold the title legitimately – and be recognised by the international community as such.
As noted previously, we do not always agree with what other governments do, and sometimes we voice this publicly. However we respect their right as democratically elected governments to make independent choices.
It is obvious that the old Government can no longer be returned. Hence the pressure has to go on for elections as soon as possible. The five years the Commodore speaks of is outrageous.