Issue 433 March 1, 2020
Those of us who accompanied the then Prime Minister John Key to Fiji in June 2016 and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to Fiji last week would agree that there has been a vast change of approach both in terms of diplomacy and friendship between the two countries.
Fiji’s Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama is a leader who makes his feelings known in private meetings as well as public platforms.
Addressing us at a media briefing, he said: “I can tell you one thing: this is a leader who truly cares, who only leads well but listens; and who shares the principles of togetherness and progress that I hold most dear. What I have admired most is how, when tested by great adversity, she has summoned the spirit of unity in a way that not only lifts up the people of New Zealand but also inspires the wider world.”
The four-day official visit, the first by Ms Ardern as Prime Minister, has opened up as many challenges as opportunities and the effective meeting and utilisation of which be a two-sided equation. The chemistry between the two leaders has evolved into a good leadership combination for better times ahead, and it was easy to see that both are determined to make things work.
Mr Bainimarama believes that Fiji and New Zealand can strike a closer bond and a great partnership. The commitment of Ms Ardern to Climate Change, combating drug trafficking and tackling gangs found common ground with him.
Ms Ardern’s announcement of providing training to Fiji Police and several other initiatives found favour with her host government.
We will analyse each of these issues in our forthcoming editions.
But for the present, we would like to believe that New Zealand and Fiji are on the threshold of a new plane of relationship. They need to work together for the betterment of their peoples.