1 Sep 2006

Fiji energy minister surprised at power price hike

1:50 pm on 1 September 2006

Fiji's Energy Minister reportedly had no idea the government was going to introduce massive electricity price hikes this month.

The opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, says Labour cabinet minister Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi went on television saying he was not consulted over the 30 percent increase to consumers.

The labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says as a partner in the coalition government they should have been consulted by the government.

But Mr Beddoes says the Fiji Electricity Authority, not the ruling SDL party, was behind the commercial decision to increase prices.

He says the row is indicative of the lack of dialogue going on in the multi-party cabinet.

"There has been very little dialogue between the leaders and as a consequence of that communication like this doesn't occur. We need to be communicating on a more regular basis because the impact is not on political parties the impact's on the people of Fiji."

Mr Chaudhry has said the government's rash action underlines the need for inter-party talks on all matters of national importance.