1 Jul 2003

Breakthrough claimed in Fiji land issue

5:45 pm on 1 July 2003

The vice president of Fiji's Labour party, Krishna Datt, says talanoa talks between the Labour party and the government have led to a landmark deal over land issues.

He says as part of the talks, the Native Lands Trust Board, the NLTB, has agreed to continue to renew leases under the Agricultural Landlord and Tenant Act, or ALTA, for no less a period than thirty years.

Mr Datt says this will not exclude the Native Lands Act but the time period allows a breathing space for new legislation to be developed, combining the best of both.

"We've got three options that we can work with. We can either all agree that we can keep the legislation as it is, or we can take out from ALTA all the good things that the tenants want and put them into NALTA, or we could take the good things out of NALTA and the good things out of ALTA and create a new legislation so they've given us a very broad platform."

Mr Datt says the recommendations will now go to a parliamentary committee.

He says talanoa talks have also begun on amendments to the constitution with mostly non-controversial issues being discussed at this point.