13 Dec 2016

Landowners challenge Suva over review process

7:22 am on 13 December 2016

A group of foreign landowners fighting land development laws in Fiji says Fiji only brought in a review process after it raised its voice over the issue.

Foreigners who have bought land in Fiji face stiff penalties if they don't build a dwelling on their land within two years of purchase.

The two year old law also applies to people who bought land before 2014 and the deadline for development is looming.

The acting prime minister of Fiji Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said landowners who couldn't meet the deadline could apply to a committee for an extension.

The Fiji Land Owners Association's Dave Rand said the committee was only set up recently.

"It was only eight weeks or so ago when we began our fundraiser for the first press release that magically Fiji's now going to listen to us if we pay them," he said.

"We have to give them a good look at our pockets. It's a thousand dollar fee and I'd like to word it as a thousand dollar fee to ask the questions they told us we could ask for free for two years and ignored us."

Dave Rand of the Fiji Land Owners Association

Dave Rand of the Fiji Land Owners Association Photo: Supplied

Mr Rand said the association had been swamped with landowners' feedback and it was pushing ahead with its campaign to boycott travel to Fiji.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum has told Fiji media changes to the Land Sales Act announced in 2014 were made to ensure non-residents did not simply buy state land or i-taukei land without developing it or contributing to Fiji's economy.