1 Jun 2016

Election candidates 'ruled out' by Nauru fee hike

9:18 am on 1 June 2016

A prospective candidate in the upcoming Nauru election says a government fee hike for candidates has ruled him and many others out of contention.

Corey Menke, a former consul-general to Thailand, is a worker at the regional processing centre on Nauru and said he wanted to run in the election but can't afford it.

The government hiked the fee from US$143 to $1,436.

Corey Menke said the cost of transferring constituency has also risen from $8 to $108.

Corey Menke

Corey Menke Photo: LinkedIn

He said it was yet another sign of government MPs using underhand tactics to hold on to power.

"Everyone actually knows that they are trying to cut down on candidates being nominated for the elections because they've done lots of policies, changes and amendments on the constitution which if they get out of office, then they'll face criminal charges and everything."

Workers for Nauru detention centre complain about pay

Mr Menke said contributing to his frustration and inability to stand as a candidate was his continued fight for better wages at the processing and detention centre.

He said the government and his employer shift the blame.

Mr Menke works for Broadspectrum, the company contracted to run the centre.

He said Broadspectrum had informed him it can't pay him more than US$3.08 an hour as the government said they don't want workers paid more than local public servants.

The barren and bankrupt island state of the Republic of Nauru awaits the arrival of refugees, 11 September 2001. Just 25 square kilometres, Nauru has been devastated by phosphate mining which once made the Micronesians the second wealthiest people per capita on earth. AFP PHOTO/Torsten BLACKWOOD

The Republic of Nauru Photo: AFP

However the government paid security guards at the centre US$4.71 an hour.

Corey Menke said it was not enough to survive on, while senior public servants lived comfortably.

"In one fortnight, I will get about $220-230 bucks, which is quite low, it's way below the cost of living here on Nauru," he said.

Mr Menke said the government's fee hike for prospective candidates was equivalent to three month's of his pay.