Fijian Prime Minister steps into development stoush

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

So you heard about the feud in Fiji. Two Yamba surfers, Nav Fox and Woody Jack, who had disruptive Sino neighbours move in and start tearing the place apart. You saw the stories, and perhaps the video, from earlier in the week as a Kiwi news team, led by plucky Mel Reid, mother of Piha pro Elliot Paerata-Reid, started asking questions.

Now, Newsroom New Zealand have released the final two videos from the investigation. The first conveys the thoughts of locals at having the land sold from under their feet, and also casts doubt on the legitimacy of the sale, while it's the third and last video that's most captivating.

The news team is first harassed by Freesoul security, then taken in by Fijian police for criminal trespass, but the tables quickly turn as the nature of the issue comes to light.

Part 2 - When the villagers cried 'enough'

Part 3 - From jail to parliament - and a result

Comments

Bernie Wilson's picture
Bernie Wilson's picture
Bernie Wilson commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 9:40am

Well done to all involved in stopping this.

Ash's picture
Ash's picture
Ash commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 9:44am

Made my morning. Thanks Stu for doing your homework, Swellnet is by far the best surf site we have to choose from.

PCS PeterPan's picture
PCS PeterPan's picture
PCS PeterPan commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 10:29am

Thankyou , I hope this is real . . . . spent many months surfing FiJi reefs coming out of Momi Bay . . . amazing places untouched by grubby humans.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 10:33am

Unimaginable result really.

Well done.

Malmayhem's picture
Malmayhem's picture
Malmayhem commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 10:34am

An excellent result.

Tenn's picture
Tenn's picture
Tenn commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 10:35am

Yewwww! Some justice for Mother Nature feels nice

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 10:41am

Such a great result. Great work all involved who got it to this point!

ashleigh's picture
ashleigh's picture
ashleigh commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 11:01am

Looks to be one fight the power and might of Chinese money didn't win. Persistency payed off for a great result.

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 11:27am

I certainly hope it's a lasting result. Great news for the island but I fear there'll be a significant compromise elsewhere under a different name. These large investments simply don't just go away and Fiji (especially 'ole Frankie) is well known for its political games.

I'm not cheap,
But I'm free.

Reefeater's picture
Reefeater's picture
Reefeater commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 11:57am

awesome outcome.......lets hope it stays that way .... though plenty more developers lining up behind that lot unfortunately to make some cash out of Fiji

Logical's picture
Logical's picture
Logical commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 1:37pm

Over development stems from global over population.

e.g Sydney Councils are having public meetings about developments occurring locally over the next 10 years in my suburbs.

Yet my mum can't buy into a nursing home for a under a $million dollars in our local area. She was a full time life long blue collar worker, retired at 67,

Instead council is fussing over where immigrants, from mostly 3rd world countries, will be living in 10 years from now. That is their single focus. SAME STORY as Fiji - different place. Us locals have no say and mum's suburb of Willoughby, already over crowded an d traffic congestion to grid lock, told she is getting a 50% population increase over 10 years.

Smorto's picture
Smorto's picture
Smorto commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 3:01pm

Huh? This story relates to environmental impacts associated with a Chinese tourism development and has nothing to do with house prices in Sydney.

You cant complain about over development and excessive house prices in the same rant. We all want to live in great locations so these locations either end up with more development to create more affordable housing options (and therefore become more congested) OR you cap development and they dont become congested but end up as enclaves for the rich.

Its great for their character that Byron and Noosa have capped populations but good luck affording a house there unless your last name is Hemsworth.

Its a sad reality of urbanised Australia but no-one is forcing people to live in North Sydney and there are plenty of affordable housing options outside the capital cities.

dinnerdish's picture
dinnerdish's picture
dinnerdish commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 2:13pm

I,m a kiwi who lives in a oz and visited friends in Fiji some years back when Frank was getting a hard time both from these countries...I helped out on a arts project at the jail which was eventually celebrated and Frank turned up. He seemed so easy to chat with and with a sense of humour...
Now if he is incorruptible around environmental issues such as this hes got to be one of the great leaders...
Great story thanks for sharing

arohabro

spencie's picture
spencie's picture
spencie commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 2:16pm

Agreed Logical. Watching it starting up in Tassie. Industrial tourism and immigration via the education system. Hard for many locals to even get a place to rent here now, let alone ever getting their first home. Watched this happening in the Solomons about 15 years ago.

easterly

Patrick's picture
Patrick's picture
Patrick commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 2:17pm

Would you please post the link to part one?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 2:25pm
Patrick's picture
Patrick's picture
Patrick commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 2:46pm

Beaut, thanks.

GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 4:15pm

Just back for NZ. After spending a week in and around Auckland I was in total shock.
My conservative estimate would be in excess of 70% of all people walking the streets of the city centre would be Chinese or Indian or people from other SE Asian countries. I guess many would be there studying but it also was very difficult to find any retail business employing kiwis. The part of the city I stayed in was wall to wall dog box multi story apartment buildings with the sights, sounds and cooking of an Asian city. Brutal/cheap architecture. Whatever is happening in Auckland it isn't balanced, its immigration of whatever type or mix gone mad.

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 4:32pm

Really enjoyed watching the vids in this story. Such a great outcome for what is a fundamental vibe from the wider community, i.e "fuck off with your brutal capitalistic approach to developing our sovereign lands."

GS, would you live there? Maybe not in the city, but somewhere on one of the islands? I've never been but I reckon there would be some great waves there. Did you get a few?

GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 5:02pm

Couldn't live in Auckland ever. We travelled north up the east coast from Auckland and we scored some small beach breaks but saw so many good set ups. Loads of potential. Love NZ and the people but for me the South Island for smack in your face beauty is hands down the place.

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 10:05pm

Cheers, will get over there one day hopefully.

Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 5:13pm

Great work for all those that said NO!

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 5:37pm

Be fun cleaning that up not sure how they will fill that channel and put the Mangroves back and who will supervise the Chinese doing it. Those Fijians are super cruisy so I hope they get some good help. Great outcome too. Not sure how that fella sold someone's land and convinced the Chinese to pay him.

hilly's picture
hilly's picture
hilly commented Sunday, 14 Apr 2019 at 10:19am

there will be no clean up, Freesoul will just leave the country and nothing will be done.
There are many Chinese developers in Fiji at present who seem to be able to develop without the approvals necessary that other local developers in the country need so are able to undercut everyone, then theres Grace road church from Korea who have a large development company who dont need to pay their 'volunteer' workers.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 6:57pm

United from the ground to the top is very rare...well done all.
Make no mistake this is everywhere & endless with sadly less that care.

2016 WSR Southern Gold Coast (3year Review)
2017 WSR Cooly Ck / entrance is closed to public due to GCA toxic runoff.
2018 WSR B'Heads Rockbreak trail ramparted for Beach Club berm blocking access.
2018 WSR Little Mali Rockbreak is almost smothered
2019 WSR Greenmount Point now a high & dry Land mark
2020 WSR Palm Beach Surf Reef is soon to be smothered by Artificial Reef.
2021 WSR Kirra (North Reef-The last of 3 Kirra Reefs) will soon be smothered.

Our Mayor/Premier/PM are heading our OZ WSR destruction hardly stopping it.
tbb will roll out the Red Carpet for Fiji PM to tackle our Whitshoe Breakout.
Do that & Fiji PM is awarded all our medals. (We can dream!)

Finntim's picture
Finntim's picture
Finntim commented Friday, 12 Apr 2019 at 7:35pm

Well done to all involved and thanks Stu for delivering great content. Every now and then the school bully gets his lunch money taken!

Robbie Kaiviti's picture
Robbie Kaiviti's picture
Robbie Kaiviti commented Saturday, 13 Apr 2019 at 12:49pm

So, what was really behind our journalists being arrested and held in Fiji? Short answer, corruption and incompetence. It was all about a small village and their fight with a development company that felt it could do as it pleased, and got away with doing exactly that for a very long time. And it was about a gutsy Journalist and her team who decided to shine a light on corruption.

The real money men in this story, the Chinese development company, played the same game in Fiji they are playing all over the Pacific, including in lil ol NZ.

Chinese companies don't give a shit about Fiji, they are only interested in the dollars they can take out of the islands. Resorts return very little to the greater Fiji economy, but they sure take a lot out.

The PRC government loves handing out bribes...oops, I mean "development loans", which they will call in unexpectedly. Just like Greece is beholden to the European Union and Word Bank, Fiji becomes increasingly beholden and in debt to China. Next thing you know China has their military in there and wants to build a base, or erect a monitoring station, or demands rights to transit the nations airspace and waters, or fish out the seas around Fiji. There is nothing new about China's end game in the Pacific.

But in the end, as I look at this particular issue, this is about Fijians shitting on Fijians. It is about Fijian law being an ass, where police pockets are filled with Chinese money and they refuse to enforce court orders, rendering those orders useless. It is about an incompetent government that is entirely unresponsive to their people; though to be fair, one cannot blame the Fiji PM for government incompetence because it has always been that way in Fiji. But one can blame the current PM for not fixing government, with such a kick up the arse that it will sting for a hundred years.

I can find examples, very easily, of developers past and present who have had hugely negative impacts on the environment. The Fiji environment court is a joke and will remain so until the PM delivers that kick and removes the courts blinkers, that only allows them to see short term dollars, while ignoring the long term impacts.

Good on Mel and the team.

Robbie Kaiviti.
New Zealand People's Mandate Party.

Kham's picture
Kham's picture
Kham commented Sunday, 14 Apr 2019 at 2:09am

Well done Mel Reid, those bloody Kiwis are tenacious I will give them that.
This is a real David v's Goliath story with a fantastic outcome.

The sad reality is that the fragile ecosystem that is a reef and mangrove can never be replaced to its original condition. I would love to see the follow up story a few years down the track.

Shame on the Fijian's that sold out, Sold out not only their land, but there ancestors and coming generations land and culture too, Shame on You!

Kham

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Sunday, 14 Apr 2019 at 7:51am

That reporter has nerves of steel. Some serious bully boy tactics going on with those developers but she made them look like fools in the end. They didn't know who they were dealing with. Farken' good job!
By the way, here's a clip of her son Elliot.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Km4GP97RJtg

Walk around G's picture
Walk around G's picture
Walk around G commented Sunday, 14 Apr 2019 at 10:58am

Awesome surfer! Nias looks like an absolute keg fest.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Sunday, 14 Apr 2019 at 9:51am

Looks like his mum.

tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter commented Sunday, 14 Apr 2019 at 7:34pm

Stoked they were stopped ,, but I have to agree with hilly on the clean up , going by what I see here in Australia. They will just abandon it and drag out any legal proceedings for years to come. The damage is done . Fuck you Freesoul.
https://www.abc.net.au/radio-australia/programs/pacificbeat/fiji-enviro-...

SoCal Steve's picture
SoCal Steve's picture
SoCal Steve commented Tuesday, 16 Apr 2019 at 3:03am

Best start to my Monday, ever. Thanks, Stu.

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Tuesday, 16 Apr 2019 at 7:03am

Yew! Thats a great result for Mololo. Having lived and worked in Fiji and formed close bonds with the Fijian people, this warms my heart. Well done to those who actively made this happen.

maka2000's picture
maka2000's picture
maka2000 commented Tuesday, 16 Apr 2019 at 12:42pm

so minister got the payment from chinees and dumbed them,