15 Jan 2015

Academic says Fiji opposition needs resources

6:49 pm on 15 January 2015

A Pacific academic says a new parliamentary funding system in Fiji doesn't help the state of democracy.

Professor Brij Lal from Australian National University says a new directive structuring payments to parties to reflect their respective size is not the best way to provide resources.

The move has forced the opposition parties to dismiss support staff with both groups saying they can't work effectively.

Fiji's National Federation Party MPs and members.

Fiji's National Federation Party MPs and members. Photo: RNZ / Sally Round

Dr Lal says the size of a party's parliamentary presence does not necessarily show how much resources they need.

He says for example the three-member opposition National Federation Party holds various chairmanships and shadow portfolios which need staff.

"This is important for a robust parliamentary democracy to have a well-resourced opposition parties of the type you have in Australia and New Zealand for example even in places like Queensland where Labour had very few seats but they received enough resources to do their work. What role should Opposition have in Fiji?"

Professor Brij Lal.