Nauru's Roland Kun speaks out in NZ
The former MP Roland Kun is settling into New Zealand after fleeing Nauru earlier this week.
A former opposition MP from Nauru Roland Kun is settling into New Zealand after fleeing his homeland earlier this week.
Mr Kun had been keeping a low profile since moves got underway at the end of last year to get him a New Zealand passport so he could join his family in Wellington.
The Nauru government confiscated his Nauruan passport last year accusing him of taking part in anti-government protests which he denies.
Mr Kun says no charges were laid against him but he was basically blacklisted by the Baron Waqa-led government.
In the first of a two part interview he told Don Wiseman how it feels to be back with his wife and three young children after a year apart.
ROLAND KUN: It feels great. It's still a bit surreal at the moment. I just got back on Monday. I'm still pinching myself that I'm actually here, I'm actually with my family. It feels absolutely great. Nothing like being with family.
DON WISEMAN: And for the foreseeable future you plan to stay in New Zealand?
RK: That is correct. I don't know, well I can't see myself travelling back to Nauru in the near future but yes, we're staying here for some time. This is our home now.
DW: All of this began two years or 26 months ago when a number of MPs were suspended and then a month later two more were suspended. Were they trumped up charges in your view?
RK: Yes I think they are trumped up charges. Everything has been trumped up. It's all about government silencing any critics, opposition MPs who disagreed with them, who question them and even the general population. We have a government that does not want scrutiny. They've made it very clear that they reject scrutiny and will step on anyone who tries to question them.
DW: Why don't they want scrutiny?
RK: Basically because they can't answer the questions, for example their breach of rule of law. They've never accepted that they've breached the rule of law regardless that it is absolutely clear that we have a judiciary that has lost its independence and that is critical for rule of law. The government refuses to acknowledge what they have done to our judiciary. They have not been in a positiion to fix that situation right up to today.
DW: These asylum seeker camps on the island that have turned the island on its head effectively ... they've been controversial and they've been criticised widely but for Nauruans it seems from the people we've spoken to they're happy to have them there but what they've done for Nauru has brought vast amounts of money in haven't they? You would think that the government would be sitting back and revelling in all of this.
RK: Yes well the Regional Processing Centre on Nauru has brought in a substantial economic upside for Nauru. The government of Nauru is sitting back revelling in all of this but not in the right way. Part of the problem is that there has been extensive abuse of the economic upside that Nauru is currently enjoying, abuse in the hands of the government of the day. Much of the business that came with the RPC has been siphoned back to government officials and they're doing it without shame, they're not really hiding it as long as they don't need to explain why it's wrong. That's what they've managed to avoid - explaining why it's wrong. They've disabled Parliament from being the place where the questions are raised by suspending members of parliament and they've managed to keep international media, any media, from delving into what's happening, in terms of details of the economic upside of the Regional Processing Centre on Nauru.
DW: Yet this wasn't expressed in the election was it? It would appear from what we've seen so far is that there's very little opposition left now to David Adeang and Baron Waqa.
RK: Yes the previous government has come back in full force. There has been some new members installed. Many of the opposition MPs from the last Parliament especially the ones who were suspended ,have lost their seats. Dr Kieran Keke's the only surviving member who was out of the suspended five. I did not run in the last elections. I chose not to run and it had nothing to do with any of these shifts. I didn't see the numbers lining the way they have lined after the elections. My decision not to run is totally family. I decided some time back that I wanted to dedicate more time to my family and I wanted to give less time to politics, especially nasty politics which we have been seeing in recent years on Nauru.
DW: Yes and at the heart of this is David Adeang, the mInister of nearly everything, back when he first arrived on the scene in the early 2000s, he was something of a darling reformist within Nauru wasn't he and seen as that in the wider Pacific. What happened?
RK: When he first came onto the political scene he was a member of a group called the Naoero Amo group. I was in that group with Dr Kieran Keke, Sean Oppenheimer who got in in the last elections, he has not run in the past but he was part of the group and our agenda was reform and picking up Nauru from an almost bankrupt position, improving governance, strengthening democracy. The only member of the group that is no longer with the group is David Adeang. He is now on the other side.
DW: And he refers to his government as a reformist government.
RK: Yes well every government will call themselves the reformist government but in all reality the actions should speak louder than their words.
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