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Suva, FIJI – July 31, 2020: 2:08pm (FIJI TIMES): It is high time Government start realigning itself with Australia and New Zealand considering the situation the world is in, Fiji Opposition MP Viliame Gavoka told the Committee of Supply in Parliament Thursday.

He made the comment when parliamentarians debated an allocation of $1.2 million in operating grant for the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) in the 2020-2021 National Budget.

“PIDF is anti-Australia and anti-New Zealand, we need to remove it,” Gavoka said.

“This is the time that we should be working closer with our neighbours.”

In response, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama refuted the claims by Gavoka.

“Only they (Opposition) have that perspective, we are closer to our neighbours,” he said.

Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said Australia and New Zealand had given direct budget support to Fiji.

He said such assistance was given because Fiji was close to its neighbours. National Federation Party MP Pio Tikoduadua said PIDF was a white elephant with no direct impact on the Fijian people.

Social Democratic Liberal Party MP Ro Filipe Tuisawau questioned the grant for PIDF.

“This needs to be rationalised and taken out because PIDF is the duplication of other regional organisations.”

In response, Sayed-Khaiyum said PIDF did not duplicate the role of other regional  institutions. (PACNEWS)

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