8 Sep 2009

Fiji citizens want part in NZ seasonal work scheme

3:16 pm on 8 September 2009

As Fiji's economy falters, people struggling to make ends meet want New Zealand to include them in its seasonal work scheme.

Two people in Fiji, who cannot be named because they fear for their safety, have told [Radio New Zealand that ordinary Fijians need help.

A man who lost his job after Fiji's public service restructure supports international travel sanctions against those with links to the military but says ordinary Fijians could be given access to the seasonal work scheme in New Zealand and Australia with screening to eliminate the military.

A widow has said people selected for the scheme would send money straight home and and not support the military government.

Former vice-president Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi agrees but says New Zealand and Australia must persevere with trying to engage with the military government.

Amnesty criticises political situation

Amnesty International has released a highly critical report on the current political situation in Fiji.

The report by Amnesty International's Pacific researcher Apolosi Bose demands international action, particularly from China, to force the military-led regime to repeal the Public Emergency Regulations introduced in April this year.

The regulations give special powers to Fiji's military, effectively giving them absolute control over the civilian population.

Mr Bose wants international donors and investors to press the government to return to the rule of law.

He says China has a special role to play, because it has massively increased its financial assistance to Fiji since the 2006 coup.

The report also documents a pattern of government interference in the judiciary, severe censorship of the media and harassment and arrests of government critics.

Newspaper subscription to be stopped

Interim-prime minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama has instructed all ministries, departments and agencies to stop their subscriptions to a Fiji newspaper, Radio New Zealand International reports.

According to the FijiVillage website, the order has been published through the Public Service Commission.

The circular also advises that advertising in the Fiji Times for all ministries, departments and agencies is to cease immediately. No reason has been given for the move.