Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ninety-nine year leases

from w
When I read this item in the Fijilive news I wondered first of all, does an interim government have the authority to make changes in land laws or should they wait until there is an elected government?

Secondly I wondered about the implications of extending a lease from 50 to 99 years. Already it means two generations of landowning Fijians will not have access to that piece of land? Okay they get financial rewards in lease money, but access to land for the children and their children is a factor that must be considered. Will all the nice beaches be taken away from the indigenous people and leased for four or five generations to hotel developers?

In my opinion lease money is a lucky bonus to Fijian families as a reward for allowing strangers to use their land - short-term or long-term. Not all Fijians have land anyway so some will reap great rewards from the chance of owning a particular piece of land and others may only have rough mountainous terrain without any infrastructure, and others no land at all.

Land lease changes approved
Thursday November 01, 2007

Changes to Fiji's land law that will allow for 99-year leases on isolated areas currently leased for 50 years has been approved by the interim Cabinet. The changes will soon be gazetted as the Native Land Trust (Leases and Licenses) (Amendment) Regulations 2006.

Interim Fijian Affairs Minister Ratu Epeli Ganilau explains that the land concerned include areas that are "isolated, unplanned or un-surveyed" as in mahogany and pine plantations, tourism leases, development leases, commercial agriculture and leases issued for public purposes.

Ratu Epeli said that the amendment will provide much needed stability in the production and processing activities not only within the mahogany and tourism sectors, but also in development leases for land subdivisions.


laminar_flow said...

I'm have a suspicion that NLTB General Manager, Semi Tabakanalagi is behind this "bait and switch".

It's time for landowners to get their trusts like seen in Monasavu model.
With these trust entities, the mataqali unit can be in a position to negotiate themselves and cut out the middle man.

I have already shown in my blog that, NLTB is the root cause of landowner's dissatifaction.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

I'm sure there are pros and cons in the argument about lengthening the leases - security of lease for 99 years might sound good for the tenant - though it is a very long time for landowners to wait to get it back! Having no access to your own property is a very disheartening experience. But if the lease money is higher, then that would be a kind of compensation I suppose.
As for the NLTB, well I don't agree with the notion that 'landowners need more time to be educated', but what if a greedy person sells up and lives very well now and forgets his grandchildren?
Laminar, does your family own land and/or lease land?

Anonymous said...

99 years for lease is too long and the lease money is so small and divided up via so many layers - NLTB cuts their %, then the chief of the province gets a %, and then the chief of the yavusa gets a %. Many of these people do not even own the land for which they are getting some money for and it's out of the already small amount of money that the rightful land owners are given/paid. This system was started by the colonial government with a few chiefs making decisions for the rest of the country. With all due respects to the various chiefs not all the land in Fiji belong to them. The only thing to do now is to encourage education of the grass root people and the actual land owners so that they are not exploited and they can say "no" to the extension of leases or refuse to lease their land. 99 years is like saying good bye to your land for your lifetime and when your children and grandchildren are old enough, they have to pay for all the improvement made to those leased land before they can get it back. Someone has hoodwinked those in power into thinking that this will help the Fijians. Sounds like an idea conceived by those who have always wanted to have a grab at the Fijian land. May God Bless and protect Fiji

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

To Anonymous,
Thank you for your contribution. Yes, over the years there have been mistakes and injustices. I think the priority at the moment is to look at the situation about what is fair to all concerned, not just looking at lists and names and legalise kind of documents and kowtowing to those with status, but what is really a way to give as many people as possible a fair go.

laminar_flow said...

Yes Wendy,
My family are guardians of native land as opposed to owners. Looking seriously at the Monasavu trust model with a few tweaks.