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No Trade-off In Green Fiji: PM

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says there will be no trade-off between economic prosperity and environmental protection in the new Fiji. He made the statement when he launched the Green Growth
02 Jun 2015 12:27
No Trade-off In Green Fiji: PM

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says there will be no trade-off between economic prosperity and environmental protection in the new Fiji.

He made the statement when he launched the Green Growth Framework document in Suva yesterday. He said this was an important day for Fiji because the document would form the blueprint for Fiji’s development now and in decades to come.

“Indeed, we see a future for Fiji in which these two principles are complementary – where prosperity comes not from short-term economic gain at the risk of resource damage or loss, but derives from the responsible and sustainable use of those

resources by extracting maximum value from them. And also adding value to them wherever possible,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“A green economy in a blue world in which the driver of growth is more intelligent, more effective and in which the common interests of all Fijians are taken into account, not one section of the economy or a privileged elite.”

He said the entire ethos of his Government was to leave no Fijian behind and to meet the needs and aspirations of everyone.

“So our vision for national development is, above all, an inclusive one – to forge a national consensus that the best way for Fiji to move forward is to ensure that no project gets the green light unless it passes the sustainability test and is in the interest of all Fijians,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama said some of this commitment came at considerable cost.

He used the example of the Namosi gold and copper project outside Suva, which is currently on hold because “we have yet to be satisfied that the necessary environmental protections can be met”.

“The revenue from this mine could make Fiji wealthier, ease our budgetary constraints and provide our people with a range of extra services,” he said.

“But Fiji is not a nation where development comes at any price. This nation cannot be bought. And we insist that the preservation of our environment must always come first.

“We have seen what has happened in other parts of the Asia Pacific when greed and the abandonment of proper process has caused long-term environmental harm. And I know I speak for every Fijian when I say we will never, ever, make the same mistake.

“Achieving a Green Growth economy sometimes requires sacrifices and we are willing to make them. In the sure knowledge that the true wealth of a nation will always be judged on the protection of its resources, their sustainable use and the wealth of the natural legacy we leave to our children and grandchildren.”

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