Nauru Opposition MP Accuses Government Of ‘Buying’ Election

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Popularity being courted via free flights, accommodations

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 22, 2015) – A Nauru opposition MP has accused the government of using public funds on "record levels" to buy popularity before next year's election.

Mathew Batsiua, who has been suspended for speaking to the media about the government, and for his alleged involvement in a protest outside parliament in June, says the government is nervous about the upcoming poll.

He and three other opposition MPs are facing charges.

Mathew Batsiua says the government is taking advantage of inaugural flights for new routes to court members of the public.

"They give them free flights, free accommodation, allowances, spending money to destinations all across the Pacific. And you know we accept that there are a concept of inaugural flights, you know when you fly a new route, that's acceptable to have inaugural flights to celebrate the opening of that new route, but to repeat the inaugural flights three or four times with plane-loads of people..."

Mathew Batsiua says there is a fear in public and people are reluctant to voice their discontent.

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