5 May 2015

Fiji native landowners call for law overhaul

2:40 pm on 5 May 2015

A group of iTaukei Fijian professionals have called for the country to reform its land laws.

Fiji Village reports the group presented to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources, saying the laws needed to better support landowners and their economic needs.

A principal land consultant, Peremo Caginivula, says land is defined as a property right in Fijian law, but Fijian culture dictates that land ownership includes a bundle of other rights, unlike Western land law systems.

He says there must be further government help to native landowners so they can build their capacity to get the most from their land.

Mr Caginivula used the comparison of Bougainville and its mining law, which has created a more just relationship between landowners and developers, allowing the value of minerals to revert to the landowners, rather than Fiji's system of making royalty payments.