From Islands Business 21.12.06
A Member of Parliament has criticized the New Zealand government for not going far enough in resolving the ongoing political crisis in Fiji.
Green Party MP Keith Locke who is also the party’s foreign affairs spokesman said yesterday that New Zealand’s approach had made the problem worse. He was speaking at a seminar organized by The Coalition for Democracy in Fiji, an NZ-based group that was formed after Fiji’s first coup in 1987.
Locke, a founding member of the group and long time Fiji watcher said the latest coup was different from the previous ones in that it challenged Fiji’s elite more fundamentally.
The Amnesty and Qoliqoli Bills as well as corruption were issues that focused on Fiji’s elite segments, he said, adding that NZ was traditionally more comfortable dealing with the elites rather than forces that challenged the system and pushed for changes in a new direction.
Commenting on the military regime, he warned Fijians to “beware in trusting any benevolent dictatorship,” expressing concern that Bainimarama had justified military rule giving the example of China which he is reported to have said was doing well economically even without a democratic government.
New Zeal The New Zealand left has been very muted on the latest Fijian coup.
Most understand that this is a left wing coup, so appear willing to give the new regime some breathing space.
The NZCTU has decried the coup, but taken little action. The Coalition for Democracy in Fiji has made a few mild statements, but has organised little real protest.
There seems to be some disquiet among the left however at possible Chinese involvement. China is supported by some of the “old left” in NZ, but to their credit, many in the Greens and “new left” despise the Beijing regime.
Green Party Foreign Affairs spokesman, Keith Locke is probably a bit torn on the issue. He as a foot in both camps.
Locke understands the leftist nature of the coup. As a long time activist in the communist front, Coalition for Democracy in Fiji, he would well know the Marxist underpinning of the Fiji Labour Party. CDF has long supported the FLP and its socialist leader, Mahendra Chaudhry.
That the FLP and Chaudhry have now benefited from a military coup, creates a problem for the NZ left.
Fiji’s first three coups were all carried out by “nationalists” opposed to the FLP and the left.
The latest coup has been executed by the left against the “nationalists”. To paraphrase Locke, the “elites” have been well and truly “challenged“.
Locke, however, clearly has some concerns over the pro-Chinese views of coup leader, Frank Bainimarama.
I think it will take awhile for NZ socialists to adopt a clear response to events in Fiji.