True to form, the Fiji Sun has tried to please its political masters in government by burying the latest results of the Fiji Sun/Western Force research poll published in today’s edition of the paper. It leads with the relatively unremarkable news that the Fiji Labour Party has “leapfrogged the smaller parties to secure third place after FijiFirst and SODELPA” when the truly big news is the collapse of the government’s vote, along with a 10 per cent fall in personal support for the Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama.
In an “analysis” piece that reeks of the customary Fiji Sun spin – some of it directed against Grubsheet – the white haired Rewa sage and sometime New Zealand resident, Nemani Delaibatiki, attempts to play down the significance of the poll result. But the numbers speak for themselves and even he is obliged to acknowledge them.
“SODELPA is the other big performer. It has for the first time overtaken FijiFirst in responses to the question: “Who do you think will win the (2022) election?” It has polled 41 per cent to FijiFirst’s 37 per cent”.
“The economic crisis backlash also continues to have a detrimental impact on Voreqe Bainimarama’s standing in the preference for Prime Minister stakes. He has dropped from 43 per cent to 33. It correlates in the movement in the party ratings. This is the lowest he has polled in Fiji Sun opinion surveys since the return to elections”.
“SODELPA caretaker party leader and opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka has been the beneficiary of the swing in opinion. He has jumped from 18 per cent to 27 per cent”.
So a ten per cent fall in support for the Prime Minister to his lowest ever number and a nine per cent increase in support for his opponent, Sitiveni Rabuka. Plus a four per cent lead for SODELPA over FijiFirst when voters are asked to pick the likely outcome of the 2022 election result. All buried in the body of the story on page 2.
So who is to blame for all this unpopularity? Well partly me, apparently. Because this is the extraordinary “analysis” by Nemani Delaibatiki of why the government is now in a losing position and the Prime Minister’s support has collapsed.
“This is predictable at the moment given the economic impact of the pandemic and the constant strident negativity promoted by anti-Government media elements and social media keyboard warriors.
FijiFirst, like governments in many parts of the world, is being hit by the economic impact of the global pandemic. This despite the proactive initiatives quickly rolled out by the FijiFirst Government to address the economic pain. People are still blaming Government for the job losses and the hardship many businesses and families are going through.
But the Prime Minister’s decisive comments in yesterday’s Fiji Sun directly address some of the negativity, especially his description of Australian blogger Graham Davis. Mr Davis and his anti-government followers made much of his supposed inside knowledge. This from a spell working in Fiji for the American public relations firm Qorvis, which does work for the government.
The PM makes it clear Mr Davis was neither a significant player nor an insider, and was prone to making drama when there was none. He was also scornful of the Davis claims about leadership and divisions within FijiFirst.
Yes, Nemani. Anything you say. Correction. Anything the Prime Minister and his Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, tell you to say. Despite the fact that I am Fiji born and a Fijian citizen, I’m an Australian blogger, as if this somehow makes me less qualified than you to make pronouncements on events in Fiji when you are a New Zealand citizen having worked for many years in NZ until you were brought back to play for the pipers who call your current tune.
Not once in his statement about me did Frank Bainimarama deny a single thing I have written in the past few weeks. Not one. Ergo, they are the facts. The truth. The Military Council has asked for changes to be made to the government, including the removal of the AG. The cabinet is divided, largely along ethnic lines. And the Prime Minister has also told the Military Council that his choice to succeed him is Inia Seruiratu.
You know all this, Nemani. It’s just that you are not a journalist but a government propagandist. And the difference between you and me is this: When I was at Qorvis, everyone knew it. But with you, it’s clandestine – the dirtiest secret in the Fijian media.
Your paper receives money in the form of exclusive government advertising and in return, has surrendered control of its editorial pages to the AG. It’s an arrangement kept from Fiji Sun readers while the paper trumpets the quality of its “journalism”. That, Nemani, is corruption and a breach of even the most basic journalistic ethics. And you and your fellow “journalists” should hang your heads in shame.