Radio N.Z. perpetrates lies about Fiji petition

It is a while since I wrote anything about the country of my birth, but Radio NZ has finally driven me to it.

Probably the single best site on Fiji is Fiji the way it was, is and Can be. He has got stuck into Radio NZ. Unfortunately his blog isn’t widely read so I take this opportunity to spread the word more effectively.

Before I do I must choke out good comment about the recent work of Murray McCully to change the paradigm and rhetoric around Fiji.

Now onto the Radio NZ bollocks.

“Fiji’s people have been fairly meek and accepting in the face of three years of military rule – but not any longer. On Friday, they submitted a petition to the military regime calling for the restoration of democracy and elections by the end of the year. It was backed by over 680,000 people – more than 80% of the country’s population. It will be interesting to see how the regime responds to this. With that level of mass opposition, its not as if they can arrest everyone (besides the obvious problem of numbers, the soldiers may not be willing to arrest their families). OTOH, unless the people are willing to turn their mass opposition into colour-revolution-style mass protests, then the regime may not in fact have to do anything.”? Link.

Now read on to see where this nonsense came from.

RadioNZ reports, without prior enquiry, question or comment, that a petition “said to have the support of more than 600,000 people”? has petitioned Bainimarama to hold elections this year. Link.( See other RadioNZ links below.)? And Coupfourpointfive has followed suit.

So Radio NZ got some info on a petition supposedly from over 600,000 Fijian citizens to request a return to democracy and silly twat no Malcolm Harbrow dutiful starts spreading the lie. normally he researches a bit more beyond the issues but his blinkers are always on over Fiji.

So where did Radio NZ get their info from?

The informant and main petitioner was Suliasi Daunitutu of Queanbeya, NSW, who is linked to the Australian FijiDemocracyNow movement. Suliasi said the petitioners, most presumably living in Fiji, “are afraid to express [their views] openly, so it’s being done through various political parties … Leaders of the Fiji Labour, SDL and National Federation Party…”

So.? This is a petition based on past party membership lists? not individuals who have signed in? their own right or given parties to sign on their behalf. The lists were apparently given by these parties to Suliasi and then handed by him to Bainimarama! I certainly wouldn’t like to belong to a political party, or any other organization, which was so free with its membership list. And if Bainimarama is as vindictive as Suliasi would claim, he isn’t doing his petitioners any good by giving him their names and addresses. The petition is immediately suspect on these grounds.

Well, well, well three holes in the ground. No-one has actually signed a petition. The petition is made up of members of opposition political parties, with not a single signature to support the contention that 680,000 or the claimed 80% of population have signed the petition. In the numbers there is a problem to, apart from the obvious that there is no way that the SDL, Labour and the National Federation Party could possibly have 80% of the population enrolled as members. Though with Qarase anything is possible.

It is also suspect on the number of petitioners claimed:
600,000 by RadioNZ; 685,936 by Suliasi, the main petitioner. How does he come even close to his 600,000 made up mainly of those on the party lists? The adult population at the 2007 census was only 518,000, and the combined first preference votes given to these three parties in the 2006 election totalled under 240,000. I doubt that more than a few of these voters were registered members of the party for which they voted. Further, it cannot be presumed that voting for these parties four? years ago would result in similar? numbers voting for them today, or the same voters being opposed to what Bainimarama has been trying to achieve since 2006. Voting for a party is a limited mandate. Mine does not assume it can speak on my behalf on all issues. But if all 240,000 “signed” the petition, a further 440,000 former Fiji citizens and other people living overseas would also need to sign to reach 686,000!

Did it not occur to someone in RadioNZ that 600,000 is more more than the total adult Fiji population of 518,000 recorded in the 2007 census, approximately one-third of whom were too young to vote?? Or did they consider the daunting task of getting at least 360,000 Australians and New Zealanders to sign to get even close to their 600,000? Such a massive petition would have reached the ears of the media. Why have we not heard of it until now?

Digging deeper, Suliasi’s petition was in support of a petition by Vilisi Naduka of Caubati in Nasinu who first came to public attention when in October 2008 he parked his car across the road at Nabua, Suva, in protest against the Coup. Suliasi says the petition was handed to Bainimara last Friday afternoon but Visili says he posted it after praying at the Methodist Church and presenting a copy to the Church President, not that the discrepancy really matters other than raising the question of what else Suliasi may have got wrong.

Well. the numbers are certainly suspect and so is the fact as to who presented what and when. Sounds like complete bollocks. Time to sell Radio NZ methinks.

The NZ taxpayer should not be subsidizing such poor journalism. Fancy Labour supporting such and inept bunch of hopeless fact checkers.