9 Jul 2015

Fiji MPs vote to reduce sitting time in parliament

1:46 pm on 9 July 2015

Fiji MPs will spend less time in the debating chamber next year after the parliament voted to cut the number of sitting days by nearly half.

Fiji's Members of Parliament

Fiji's Members of Parliament Photo: Fiji Department of Information

The vote comes as Fiji's parliament nears its first anniversary after the first elections since the 2006 coup.

From September this year, the number of sitting weeks will reduce from seven to four.

The government stressed it was aimed at improving the efficiency of government, parliament and MPs.

The Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said it was about doing more work for the people of Fiji.

"The whole notion of statesmanship, of state-craftship is governing for the people, is delivering services, not just sitting here having arguments."

The proposal brought heated debate.

The opposition's Tupou Draunidalo said it would mean fewer hours to keep the government in check and Salote Radrodro said the young parliament needed more not less time for debate.

"It takes away the opportunity for us to come here and debate, and particularly for our nation which has just come out of military rule."

The opposition also said a cut in hours should come with a reduction in pay.