15 June 2018
Former Prime Minister and Party Leader of the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA), Sitiveni L Rabuka issued this statement today in response to the results of the latest Times Tebbutt poll on the most pressing issues facing the government, and the most pressing issues facing those questioned in the poll.
Although the sample size of the Tebbutt poll is small in relation to the total population for a realistic evaluation of results, it can be argued that the results can be used as a benchmark, indicator or broad idea of peoples’ thinking on a particular issue.
The results of the latest Tebbutt poll confirm the feedback I have received from ordinary Fijians in my visits around the country.
According to the results, the cost of living, unemployment, and wages are top issues of concern. Half of those interviewed or 50% named the cost of living as an issue. We cannot look at cost of living in isolation from unemployment and wages. These variables are interdependent or correlated. When there are employment opportunities, then people have a choice. Since there is limited employment opportunities, people have to be content with what is available despite low wages.
The results of the Poll are consistent with our observations in urban and semi-urban areas.
For those in our rural areas, farming opportunities and rural development are bigger issues.
|Coconut sellers |
Gio Vakaloloma (left) removes coconut husks with a machete in Suva, Fiji. He is among the one-third of Fiji's 840,000 population who live below the poverty line. Neil Sands / Agence France-PresseSource: ChinaDaily.Com
For landowners, land leases, the continuing lack of consultation by government with landowners and fair rent continue to be a challenge.
The results contradict all the self-praising by the Bainimarama Government that there is prosperity in the country. There are lessons for the Bainimarama Government to learn from the poll results. They cannot turn a blind eye to the truth that almost 50% of ordinary Fijians are facing hardship and only a select few are benefitting from the high growth that FFP continues to boast about, which is not true.
|A march to eradicate poverty. Source|
The results of the poll are also an indication of the lack of consultation with all stakeholders to put in place the right policy mix to address the concerns of our people about the high cost of living, low wages, unemployment, education, land issues, health and poverty and all the other issues of concern.
Sitiveni L Rabuka