Key’s shameful support of Fiji arrests

By   /   September 14, 2016  /   28 Comments

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Key’s posture is that human rights don’t really matter, or at least are secondary to maintaining warm relations with repressive governments.

john_key_fires_up_over_iraq_decision

Our Prime Minister hit a new low yesterday morning when he justified the Fijian government’s detention of three opposition party leaders, the trade union head, a leading academic and an NGO spokesperson. Their crime was to attend a small roundtable discussion on the Fiji Constitution.

When RNZ’s Morning Report asked him about the arrests John Key claimed they were “legally authorized” . He went on to say that “there was a law on the books that allowed them to do what they did.” At no point in the interview did Key condemn the arrests.

So where did this “legality” come from? In 2012, when Fiji was still a military dictatorship, Commodore Bainimarama issued a Public Order Amendment Decree requiring people to get a government permit for any political meeting. Opposition meetings could be deemed threats to “public order”.

Later in 2012, as the country was moving towards elections, the decree ceased to apply to indoor public meetings, which is why the latest arrests were a surprise.

Surely, as leader of a democratic country, John Key has a duty to defend free speech and assembly, which are guaranteed in our Bill of Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Instead he accepts as “legal” a Fijian decree which restricts those very same rights.

In some ways the PM is being true to form. While visiting Saudi Arabia last year John Key saw that country’s beheadings (50 had just taken place) as a “philosophical difference”. He said that Saudi Arabia “set their own laws and people live by those laws…. if they don’t like that the best they can do is leave.”

Key’s posture is that human rights don’t really matter, or at least are secondary to maintaining warm relations with repressive governments.

Why else would he express so little regard to the arrest in Fiji of Labour leader Mahendra Choudhry, National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad, Sodelpa Party leader Sitiveni Rabuka, CTU leader Attar Singh, academic Tupeni Baba and Pacific Dialogue spokesperson Joni Dakuvla?

John Key has invited Fiji’s PM to make an official visit to New Zealand. The least Key should do is to say that the visit is no longer appropriate.

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28 Comments

  1. Garibaldi says:

    Bainimarama has probably done just what Key has in mind for us.

  2. Castro says:

    Honestly, how is this in any way surprising? “We” signed a Free Slave Agreement with the largest dictatorship on the planet. Hypocrisy much? (“It’s not a dictatorship, it’s a one-party sate…”) Yeah, right! This right here is a prefect example of why the so-called “left” is losing support…. because many are right wing hypocrites in drag.

  3. david says:

    Neocolonalist? yeah definitely.

    Leave Fiji alone. They have made great strides in leaving behind their racist constitution, subjugation the fijian Indian population. I had boycotted them after their inital coup and racist policies.
    Didn’t hear a peep from the ‘prodemocratic’ voices then.

    Meanwhile in the Pacific…… Tonga remains ruled by an absolute monarchy.
    Hear anything? Nither did I.

    • OncewasTim says:

      You’re not suggesting Frank is Fiji’s saviour though are you David? I’m personally well familiar with the plight of the ‘so-called’ Indo-Fijian.
      I’m equally aware though that Frank is a bit of a sociopath with fascist tendencies, and not unlike our own Dear Leader, he’ll tend towards his own agenda (and probably Mere’s – lest she boxes his ears) BEFORE any concern for the Fijian population of whatever ethnicity.
      So too the Attorney Heneral Herr Commandant!

      • david says:

        Lets look at the Pacific from our condescending ‘our back yard’ point of view.

        We have Tonga an absolute monarchy and until recently ruled by a pompous London Taxi riding dandy who had a race riot burning down their CBD.

        Papua New Guinea: a corrupt, kleptocracy crime ridden misognostic society where women don’t dare walk alone.

        Guam: protectorate of USA, denied statehood and a vote in the US elections.

        Solomon Island- basketcase

        The rest either under NZ, US or France’s cheque book/thumb.

        Fiji until recently, denied the principle of one man, one vote and had privilleges for “native’ Fijians resulting in an exodus of the Fijian-Indian population.

        However, there is preoccupation with Frank Bananas. He won overwhelming democratic majority. Despite this, there is an ongoing campaign of from Keith Locke, Barbara Dreaver et al.

        I think Fiji is a relative bright spot in the emancipation of peoples in the Pacific region over the last few years. Compare this to the lack of comments on the democratic deficits of other Pacific countries. These critics have an axe to grind.

      • david says:

        What do mean by so called Indo-Fijian?

    • Atu says:

      Yes Fiji is better than Tonga but that point is completely irrelevant when the risk is that Fiji is on the brink of becoming a fascist state masquerading as a democracy. The prime minister and attorney general ordered these arrests using a law that they introduced themselves and then suspended 4 years ago. Either John Key is lying or ill informed. The since suspended law states that a public meeting can not be held without a permit. This was a private conference, not a public meeting and whatsmore the PM and AG had been invited to speak but declined. Members of the Fiji police were even in attendance. Then 6 days after the fact they attempt to use trumped up charges to take all key members of the opposition out of the running in the upcoming elections. How convenient. Still think Fiji is making great strides?

  4. Afewknowthetruth says:

    Most governments are government of occupation, formed after land was forcibly taken from the inhabitants using extreme violence. That is true of England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand……

    Having acquired the land via extreme violence and control of the populace via genocide and terrorism, the occupation governments then proceeded to legalise their crimes.

    In more recent times, international money-lenders and corporations have established governments of occupation in most nations, and have used bought-and-paid-for politicians to alter laws in favour of money-lenders and corporations. It has all been perfectly legal because the bought-and-paid-for politicians passed laws to make it so.

    Legal is not the same as legitimate.

  5. Draco T Bastard says:

    Surely, as leader of a democratic country, John Key has a duty to defend free speech and assembly, which are guaranteed in our Bill of Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Instead he accepts as “legal” a Fijian decree which restricts those very same rights.

    As leader of a democratic country he does but key is first and foremost a leader of a dictatorial clique that abhors human rights. As such he will, IMO, celebrate the opposition being taken down through such ‘legal’ means no matter how unethical they are.

    Give him and his government time and they will put in place such ‘legal’ but unethical means here.

    Oh, wait..

    They’ve already done it:

    Submitter after submitter warned the Foreign Affairs and Defence Select Committee that, under the government’s Maritime Crime Amendment Bill, acts of civil disobedience at sea – such as boarding or damaging a warship – could be classified as terrorism.

    They said the bill was heavy-handed and such behaviour could be dealt with by criminal charges.

    Tim Jones from the Coal Action Network said the tradition of protesting at sea was under threat.

    “That it could be used in such a way as to prevent, or to seek to prevent … or have a chilling affect on legitimate protest activity.”

    Welcome to the freedom of the rich from ever being held to account by everyone else.

    • Mike in Auckland says:

      Great comment, we need more like this!

    • mosa says:

      Well put Draco as usual.
      Key is slowly , under the radar removing the right to protest and having anybody who does will be labeled a terrorist in other words “an enemy of the state”.
      I bet the Americans have given advice on how to suppress any dissenting voices or action that directly challenges Key and his policies.
      With another mandate at the next general election he will go further in repressing our democratic rights…he is going down a dangerous path.

  6. Yeah well, are we terribly surprised though?

    I mean this is the same Key Government that likes cozying up at any cost to Saudi Arabia, a country whose contempt for human rights is as well known as its reliance on oil.

    This is the same Saudi Arabia that arrests bloggers and sentences them to 1000 lashes – Raif Badawi. This is the same Saudi Arabia that bombs hospitals and what not in Yemen using American and British ordnance and delivery systems.

    • bert says:

      This is a Key Government that is an ABBA song at all costs “Money, Money, Money” including peoples lives.
      This is a Key Government that see’s the Housing crisis like a monopoly board.
      So tells N.Z. “you will do as you are told”, similar to Commodore Bainimarama.

    • Castro says:

      Our new bwest fwend China is a far greater killer of humans and endangered species than Saudi Arabia and Fiji combined.

      • bert says:

        True but Fiji is a small island.

      • So what are us of the Free World Tribes going to do about this Barbaric Carry-on..Nine Eleven mite be a good case to pick up on’…’If people really want to turn the Tide’..After all said and Done’ Terrorist Bombing strategies are an easy simple deliverance system ‘Would’nt you think’..You don’t need Tanks, Subs,Planes etc in fact you only need Handbags and short lengths of Steel and Plastic Pipes stuffed full of explosive material and ‘Kaboom’..You can shake a lot of Lily-skin Baby Boomers down into the real world…WAKE UP YOU TORY GOVT MUTHER SUCKERS’..YOUR BRINGING TRAIN-LOADS OF TERRORISTS INTO OUR COUNTRY LIKE YOU DON’TGIVE A SHIT’..AND WHEN THEY START THEIR TERROR RAIDS I ONLY HOPE ITS YOUR DOORS THEY KNOCK ON TO ‘BOMB’..FIRST’

  7. Erik Bloodaxe says:

    Dunnokeyo doesn’t give a crap about human rights. His only loyalty is to doing whatever is needed to stay in power and continue to destroy our once great country. Or was it? In any event, human rights and social justice are well behind political spin and manipulation, mass surveilance, privatisation and monocultural colonialism. Despite this a large section of the voting public is totally oblivious to this – which is what he is banking on.

  8. Mike in Auckland says:

    “When RNZ’s Morning Report asked him about the arrests John Key claimed they were “legally authorized” . He went on to say that “there was a law on the books that allowed them to do what they did.” At no point in the interview did Key condemn the arrests.”

    Would you expect an aspiring dictator to condemn the actions committed by police in a virtual police state, I ask?

    That is what we must consider, when we talk about Mr Key.

    He is comfortable with nice, warm meetings with the likes of the leaders of the People’s Republic of China, with the King and his servants in Saudi Arabia, with any other leader from whatever country, I am sure he would enjoy a cuppa tea with Mugabe also, no problems there, when it may involve some potential trade deals or what else may be of interest.

    And I bet you, once Donald Trump is president of the US, Key will swiftly congratulate him, arrange a meeting and exchange views with the man in “warmest terms”.

    Key is a privileged boot licker, look at his visits to the Queen, all kinds of state leaders, he is a pleaser, a chatter and willing mercenary. He loves the limelight and photo shots with the big ones from the planet.

    https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=john+key+photos+with+leaders&biw=928&bih=568&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjV8c6AqY7PAhVr4YMKHcQEAlYQsAQIGQ

  9. Mike in Auckland says:

    Key does not care, he only cares about the limelight and his power, so he does things like this, to appeal and please the ones he meets:

    http://www.gettyimages.co.nz/event/prime-minister-john-key-visits-sikh-temple-507323779#new-zealand-prime-minister-john-key-speaks-to-the-congregation-during-picture-id453714534

  10. Mike in Auckland says:

    John Key = wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  11. bert says:

    The photo of Key say’s it all and he had the cheek to label Little, angry Andy!

  12. Priss says:

    Why do I get the feeling that Key looks on Fiji in admiration and wonders if he could get away with similar actions……..

    Has anyone done a OIA request to ask, “What contingency plans has the Government made to explore the logistics of an “emergency government”, during a “crisis”, and how big would detention camps need to be to house left-wing activists, trade unionists, bloggers, University academics, Maori leaders, and other malcontents and critics?”

    • Mike in Auckland says:

      Forget OIA requests, I know people waiting over three years already for information that was asked from MSD. A complaint at the Office of Ombudsmen is lying around in their Office struggling to work off a huge backlog of complaints, many OIA related.

  13. mosa says:

    This PM and his cronies including all National MPS who dont have a brain cell between them have orchestrated a coup d”tat in NZ without one bullet used or a tank in the street.
    None of this support for whats been done in Fiji by Key has featured or been given serious attention by the MSM which means Key is never challenged on things he bloody well should be, this has serious implications for the right to protest and for the Left in NZ that is what i take from his opinion on these arrests and who was arrested in Fiji.
    The warning bells are ringing and i dont like the direction our country is moving in , its starting to feel like a repressive state.
    What else do they have planned after they secure a mandate at the next election…. Our democracy is slowly being taken from us and no one seems to care and thats how Key gets away with it.

  14. mosa says:

    This PM and his cronies including all National MPS who dont have a brain cell between them have orchestrated a coup d”tat in NZ without one bullet used or a tank in the street.
    None of this support for whats been done in Fiji by Key has featured or been given serious attention by the MSM which means Key is never challenged on things he bloody well should be, this has serious implications for the right to protest and for the Left in NZ that is what i take from his opinion on these arrests and who was arrested in Fiji.
    The warning bells are ringing and i dont like the direction our country is moving in , its starting to feel like a repressive state.
    What else do they have planned after they secure a mandate at the next election…. Our democracy is slowly being taken from us and no one seems to care and thats how Key gets away with it.

  15. Paul says:

    Key see democracy as a suppression mechanism – being elected gives one the levers to pull.

  16. Siobhan says:

    But our Neo liberal Free Market model NEEDS countries to be as dysfunctional and/or as oppressed as possible.
    For National it means cheap labor, and its illusion of ‘Growth’.
    And Labour sure wouldn’t let any moral concerns get in the way of a Free Trade Deal. I wonder how many Chinese workers ended up with ‘Paul Holmes’ olive oil in the cupboard??

  17. Mike in Auckland says:

    Key is TOTALLY OVERRATED by his Kiwi audience. He is incompetent and WEAK on an international scale. Watched his childish speech at the UN today, how WEAK and useless, like a child that learned his or her speech for a school outing to say so. Perhaps he may get away with such a speech at the local Rotary Club, but on a world scale, FFS, a total fail, an amateur, for sure, why do the NZ MSM still celebrate the clown?

    I posted this under another post, but it deserves to be mentioned here also.