22 Nov 2005

Senior Fiji Labour MP praises government's budget

10:29 am on 22 November 2005

A senior Fiji Labour Party MP has broken ranks and praised the government's 2006 budget.

Fiji TV reports that the praise has come from Dr Ganesh Chand, a strong critic of the government who has announced that he is retiring from politics and won't contest next year's general election.

Dr Chand, an economist, has told parliament that the 2006 budget is the best out of the bad budgets the government has presented in its term in office.

He says at least the government seems to be listening to members on the opposition benches, independent experts outside parliament and international organisations.

Dr Chand also says it is of fundamental importance for good leaders on both sides of the house to foster confidence on key issues.

He says this is because ahead of next year's general elections, fear is being planted in the people about the Reconciliation and Unity Bill, the land lease issue and the gay issue.

Dr Chand says if people wallow in the small successes of getting elected, then come back into the House to make speeches that no one listens to, then they are doing a disservice to the nation.

He has appealed to MPs to consider their conduct seriously, adding that what is needed is inclusive leadership that he says has been lacking so far.