3 Sep 2007

Federal system in Solomon Islands could benefit provinces but be too costly

7:32 pm on 3 September 2007

A New Zealand academic says a move to a federal system in Solomon Islands could benefit provinces but may be too costly to implement.

The nine provincial premiers are submitting proposals to a constitutional congress over a draft constitution and want to see less power concentrated in Honiara's central government.

An associate professor at Canterbury University, Dr John Henderson, says a federal system makes a lot of sense in Melanesia because the societies are so diverse and so divided.

"Trying to keep a country as diverse as the Solomons together is going to be an ongoing problem whereas with a federal system with powers devolved down to the states, as the provinces would become, it may well contain some of those separatist tendencies."

Dr Henderson says the federal system would add another layer of government which may prove too costly for the country.