2 Oct 2015

Revocation of Nauru benefits labelled an 'abuse of power'

8:19 am on 2 October 2015

A Nauru opposition MP says the revoking of pensioners' benefits for allegedly participating in anti-government protests in June is a blatant abuse of power.

Crowds gather in Nauru

Crowds gather in Nauru Photo: supplied/ Shane Bazzi

Mathew Batsiua says he knows of two pensioners who received letters from the finance minister David Adeang this week, advising them they would no longer receive welfare payments or Nauru Airline benefits.

The letter says Cabinet made a decision last week that people involved in protests, riots and other criminal activities would stop receiving government privileges.

Mr Batsiua says the two pensioners have not been charged with any crime, nor had a chance to appeal the government's decision about their benefits.

"They've been using this carrot and stick approach for a while now, where they take a stick to those who are critical of government actions to make sure they keep them in line, while rewarding those who are obedient with free travel and whatever. This carrot and sticks approach by Mr Adeang and his government is standard operation for them but we say it is an abuse of power."

David Adeang could not be reached for comment.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs