Analysis

Opposition’s Milky Affair

The Opposition, after opposing the free milk initiative for years, has suddenly changed their stance.
21 Jun 2019 14:52
Opposition’s Milky Affair
Ro Teimumu Kepa outside Parliament. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Our Opposition Members on Wednesday night in Parliament discovered their new-found love for milk distribution to Year One students around the country.

For the past four years, the Opposition has vehemently opposed the free milk scheme. They have moved motions in Parliament, which was voted on by many of those who are still sitting on the Social, Democratic Liberal (SODELPA) side.

The Opposition, after opposing the free milk initiative for years, has suddenly changed their stance.

Based on their strong opposition to this in the past, it came as a huge surprise, almost as a shock that the same SODELPA side decided that because Government has decreased the allocation for the scheme, they want the scheme allocation to be increased. But, for four years they wanted to get rid of this very scheme.

This is an obvious example of how Opposition members are voting against Government, just for the sake of opposing. They have no qualms about changing their tune. They are only interested in putting up a show for those watching on television or during the live stream through Walesi or Facebook.

It was even more shocking that the former Opposition Leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa, moved the motion for the increase. This is the height of hypocrisy. She had voted in favour of getting rid of this scheme in the past!

This is what she had to say in Parliament on Wednesday night: “Can I just speak on the Free Milk Programme, Honourable Chairman, which is programme 2 – activity 1 on Free Milk. On that, my motion is to increase it from $400,000 to $3.1 million, which it was originally, before they decreased the allocation to $400,000 because in that decrease, they were planning to just offer milk to rural and maritime students. My motion is because children, especially at that age, five years old, six years old, seven years old, their bones and teeth are still being formed…”

This would have been a good point. Except, the entire country knows that for four straight years, they had opposed this, accused Government of starting this scheme to assist the company which supplies that milk, went to the extent of saying cow milk should not be consumed and the year Government decreased the allocation to focus on areas where students need it the most, Opposition wants to change that! Is anyone else seeing a glaring problem with this?

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum pointed out this exact point when this sorry excuse of a motion was moved by Ro Teimumu.

He said: “It is very interesting, suddenly now they have all become advocates of the Free Milk Programme. I remember the Honourable Lalabalavu who is sitting here now where Honourable Karavaki used to be here, when he (Semesa Karavaki) used to move motions to get rid of the milk scheme altogether from the budgetary allocation, all of them voted for it, including Honourable Kepa.”

Voters deserve better. This hypocrisy and the urge to oppose Government just for the sake of it will not do our country any good.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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