Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group

Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group - Outcomes Statement

The Forum Ministerial Contact Group (MCG) concluded its two day visit to Fiji today, consistent with the mandate of Pacific Islands Forum Leaders to continue to dialogue and engage with Fiji. The MCG comprises Ministers from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The MCG thanked the Fiji Government for hosting the Group and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat for making the programme arrangements. The MCG appreciated the opportunity to meet with the Attorney General and Minister for Elections, Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum; the Minister for Foreign Affairs Ratu Inoke Kubuabola accompanied by other Ministers; members of the Electoral Commission; and representatives of registered political parties, trade unions and civil society organisations.

Ministers welcomed significant progress made by Fiji since the Group last visited in April 2013, including important and significant efforts to prepare for elections by 30 September 2014. These include the approval on 6 September 2013 by the President of Fiji of the Constitution of the Republic of Fiji; the registration of four political parties and the enrolment of more than 540,000 voters including enfranchising Fijians living overseas; the appointment of an independent Electoral Commission and the commencement of a dialogue between the Commission and political actors; the bolstering of the Elections Office, with support from technical advisers from Australia, the European Union, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea and the public release of the National Register of Voters.

Ministers looked forward to the early appointment of the Supervisor of Elections and the early release of the Elections Decree and legal framework for elections. Ministers were pleased to hear the assurances from the Attorney General that these steps were imminent.

Ministers noted the logistical challenges still facing the Fiji Elections Office and the importance of ensuring widespread access to voter education.

Recalling the expectations of the people of Fiji and the international community for free and fair elections, Ministers reiterated the need for political parties' full engagement in the electoral process, including the ability to meet freely and campaign openly. In this respect, while welcoming the significant improvement that has taken place since their last visit, Ministers emphasised the importance of ongoing improvements to media freedom, freedom of speech, association and assembly.

Ministers emphasised that it would be in Fiji's interest that the election be judged on its openness and fairness according to accepted international standards. Ministers encouraged Fiji to welcome full international observation of the election to leave no doubt as to its legitimacy. They also emphasised the critical importance of access for international media.

Ministers reaffirmed the clear commitment of all Forum members to encourage and support Fiji's early return to parliamentary democracy, and reiterated members' offers to assist electoral preparations as well as to provide immediate assistance to the Electoral Commission, if so requested.

Welcoming the progress Fiji has made towards elections and a return to parliamentary democracy, and recognising the importance of greater regional trade and economic integration, Ministers agreed to recommend to Forum Leaders that Fiji be invited to participate in PACER Plus negotiations and Forum Trade Ministers' Meetings at ministerial level.

Ministers discussed with the Forum Secretary General steps for welcoming Fiji's full participation in the Forum following Fiji's September election, in accordance with the spirit and intent of the Biketawa Declaration.

The MCG is chaired by the Hon. Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand, and include: Hon. Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia; Hon. Rimbink Pato, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration of Papua New Guinea; Hon. Tuisugaletaua Ali'imalemanu Sofara Aveau, Minister of Communication and Information Technology of Samoa; Hon. Taukelina Finikaso, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labour of Tuvalu; and Hon. Nipake Edward Natapei, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Vanuatu.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Max Rashbrooke: A Failure Of Measurement: Inside The Budget Lock-Up

Shortly after the embargo lifted at 2pm news organisations started filing reports claiming that health, and to a lesser extent housing and education, were the ‘big winners’ out of the Budget. It failed to take into account the fact that in most cases the apparent increases were in fact cuts. Because of the twin effects of inflation and population. More>>

ALSO:

DOCtored Figures: Minister Clarifies DOC Budget

“Commentators have overlooked the fact $20.7m of that perceived shortfall is new funding for Battle for our Birds 2016, provided for in last week’s Budget...” DOC also has approval in principle to carry over a further $20m to 16/17 due to unexpected delays in a number of projects. More>>

ALSO:

For The Birds: Gordon Campbell On The Budget

Budgies, so their Wikipedia page says, are popular pets around the world due to their small size, low cost, and ability to mimic human speech. Which is a reasonably good description of Finance Minister Bill English eighth Budget. . More>>

Max Rashbrooke On The 2016 Budget

The best label for this year’s announcement by Bill English might be the ‘Bare Minimum Budget’. It does the bare minimum to defuse potential political damage in a range of areas – homelessness and health are prime among them – but almost nothing to address the country’s most deep-rooted, systemic social problems. Indeed the Budget hints that these problems may get worse. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bank Scandals (And Air Crashes)

Last month, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) filed proceedings against Westpac over activities that have some distinct echoes of the Libor scandal. More>>

Budget: Health Funding Must Keep Up With Need

NZNO: “The nursing team has been doing more with less for years. It’s getting to the point that we’re really worried about our colleagues, our patients, our jobs and the level of health care available for people in our country." More>>

ALSO:

Emissions Inventory: Time For The Government To Do The Right Thing

It’s time for the National Government to step up and do the right thing to reduce climate pollution as data shows New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions are higher than ever, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Budget 2016: More Partnership Schools To Open

Seven new schools will join the eight Partnership Schools already open, along with further new schools opening in 2017. “The growth of this policy is a reflection of the high level of interest from educators and community leaders,” Mr Seymour says. More>>

ALSO:

No Correspondence With English: Did Brownlee Make Up Sale Of Navy Ships ‘On The Hoof?’

Having revealed that several Royal New Zealand Navy vessels have not left port in years, New Zealand First is now asking the Minister of Defence to prove he did not come up with the idea of selling HMNZS Taupo and Pukaki until the media asked him. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news