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Op­po­si­tion mem­bers don’t agree with Gov­ern­ment mem­bers in Par­lia­ment? Think again when it comes to more money in their own pock­ets. Op­po­si­tion Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa has been quickly quoted as fully sup­port­ing the pro­posal to sub­stan­tially in­crease al­lowances par­lia­men­tar­i­ans get. We have to say quoted, be­cause Ro Teimumu is not fond of talk­ing to the Fiji Sun. Well, that’s Ro Teimumu. Which leads to an in­ter­est­ing ques­tion when it comes to Bi­man Prasad, the leader of the tiny Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion Party group in the Op­po­si­tion that Ro Teimumu leads. Where will he stand on this, given his reg­u­lar spot­light­ing of fi­nan­cial is­sues, spend­ing and his back­ground as an econ­o­mist. Mr Prasad is keep­ing his cards close to his chest, ap­par­ently plan­ning to com­ment on the mat­ter when his turn comes to ad­dress Par­lia­ment. His take on this whole thing would be rather in­ter­est­ing. Will he like Ro Teimumu sup­port the in­creases? Will he ques­tion them but ac­cept them any­way? Or will the NFP do what they seem to be best known for at the mo­ment, and “boycott” them? Pub­lic com­ment so far does not seem to be in favour of the par­lia­men­tar­i­ans pock­et­ing more through sub­stan­tial in­creases in al­lowances if not an in­crease in salaries..

In our let­ters to the edi­tor col­umn to­day there are ex­am­ples of a dif­fer­ent view­point to that ex­pressed by Ro Teimumu.

Wise Muavono, of Lau­toka, writes:

The Op­po­si­tion Leader said the al­lowance the Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment are get­ting now is dif­fi­cult to work with. How about the low wages that peo­ple are get­ting and find­ing it dif­fi­cult to sur­vive with? Huh?

Narayan Reddy, of Lau­toka, writes:

At the mo­ment a MP gets $50K and some al­lowances. An av­er­age worker only gets $120 a week which is $6240 a year and he/she would be lucky to get any al­lowance. $50K is not enough ac­cord­ing to the Leader of Op­po­si­tion. May I ask: If $6240 is enough for an av­er­age worker who pays even his/her own bus fare to work and MPs say that they don’t get enough, what about an av­er­age worker? Who can they cry to? Some­times I won­der why I voted!

Si­mon Hazel­man, of Savusavu, writes in part:

First and fore­most, an in­crease must be jus­ti­fied by pro­duc­tiv­ity – a qual­ity that is ob­vi­ously lack­ing – es­pe­cially from the Op­po­si­tion.

Isn’t it sad though that the only mat­ter that both sides of the house will say ‘yay’ to is an in­crease... Over to you Mr Prasad. How do you stand?

Photo: Ron­ald Ku­mar

Op­po­si­tion Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa out­side Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day.

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