MACUATA District representative Peni Donu has voiced concern on the rise of non communicable diseases and poverty in rural areas.
Mr Donu said people were idle and chose to take the easy option of turning to groceries sold in shops and being ignorant of the impact it had on their health.
"We listened to the Ministry of Health representative talking about their effort to enhance healthy living and physical wellness among iTaukei's," said Mr Donu.
"We district representatives need to stand up for our people and spread the messages that are gleaned in meetings like this," said Mr Donu.
"Poverty happens because people do not have money and food to put in their mouths and the solution to these two problems lay on the very land that our villages have in abundant but are lying idle."
"Our people are spending most of their precious time drinking yaqona and doing useless activities rather then focussing on the development of their families and their future," he said.
Mr Donu echoed the sentiments of Northern development programs manager Waisea Tuidama in that it had spent $9.8 million on small business projects.
"'What are people doing with opportunities such as this?
"Are we letting it pass us by while we live in poverty," he added.
Mr Donu said the mindsets of iTaukei people in rural areas needed to change.