30 Jun 2015

Fiji flag poll defended

2:37 pm on 30 June 2015

The Fiji Times has defended its poll on the flag change after the government questioned its credibility.

The Tebbutt Times Poll on the Fiji flag

The Tebbutt Times Poll on the Fiji flag Photo: SUPPLIED / Tebbutt Research

The Tebbutt-Times poll, conducted by an independent company Tebbutt Research, found at least 86 percent of Fijians would prefer to vote on whether the flag should be changed.

It also found 53 percent of people want the current flag retained.

The Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has raised concern about the poll, including its sample size and the ratio of urban and rural participants.

But Tebbutt Research says its research methods are robust.

Its managing director, Caz Tebbutt, says the poll canvassed the opinions of 1052 randomly selected adults from rural and urban Fiji and appropriate statistical tests were applied.

Responding to Mr Sayed-Khaiyum's comment that the company's research had not always been accurate, including during the election period, Ms Tebbutt says its pre-election polls called the result with a high degree of accuracy.

Tebbutt-Times Poll immediately prior to September election

Tebbutt-Times Poll immediately prior to September election Photo: SUPPLIED / Tebbutt Research

The Fiji Times editor, Fred Wesley, says he also has confidence in the poll.

"Obviously everybody's entitled to their opinion. The Fiji Times is confident in the credibility of Tebbutt Research. We believe Tebbutt Research to be a very credible way of finding out people's opinions and we stand by the results."

Mr Wesley says the Fiji Times has been using Tubbutt Research since 1992.

Fiji PM to have 'last say' on flag process

Fiji's Government has confirmed views in Fiji that final decisions on changing the flag still rest with the Prime Minister.

The Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, told Fiji Broadcasting Corporation there may be an extension of the public consultation period.

Following an initial backlash to the 23 final designs recently published, Mr Sayed Khaiyum says people are now speaking up and the deadline may have to be extended.

The official period is due to end today.

Mr Sayed Khaiyum says Frank Bainimarama will make a decision about extending the period to get more feedback.

Last week Mr Bainimarama responded to criticism, saying that if people dislike the 23 designs they should submit new ones, and the final designs are not final.

The new flag will be hoisted on October the 10th, the 45th anniversary of independence.