CHANGES IN FIJI LEASE PAYMENTS NEED CONSULTATION: CCF

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Chiefs and commoners set to receive same amount

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 4, 2011) – A call has been made for greater consultation in Fiji over the changes that have been made to the way lease money is paid to indigenous land owners.

From the start of the New Year, Chiefs and commoners are to receive the same amount in lease payments.

The Executive Director of the Citizens Constitutional Forum, Reverend Aquila Yabaki, says his organisation welcomes a greater democratisation in the distribution of lease money.

But he says it’s a substantial change and those involved need to have had an opportunity to discuss the issues involved:

"It’s a painful change and therefore there will be people who will feel undermined in terms of their authority but that sort of thing should be all the reasons why there should be greater engagement and dialogue with all state holders."

Reverend Yabaki says as yet his organisation has been unable to find any copies of the decree to examine the details.

He says while discussions were talked about, because of the media censorship he is unaware if any have taken place.

Reverend Yabaki says he is aware of at least one province that has said it does not agree with the changes.

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