THE Social Democratic and Liberal Party is offering ordinary Fijians nothing new.
That is the view of Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.
In response to SODELPA leader Ro Teimumu Kepa's maiden speech delivered after her appointment last Friday, Commodore Bainimarama said the political party had learned nothing new.
"Instead of providing the country with a vision of a new Fiji, it is dragging everyone backwards by employing the same old fear-mongering tactics of the old Fiji," the Prime Minister said.
"Every political party has the right to develop the manifesto of their choosing, but I have to point out that so much of what this leader of SODELPA says is utter nonsense."
Commodore Bainimarama said Fiji's new Constitution protected the rights of all Fijians, including unprecedented levels of protection of iTaukei land in the Bill of Rights.
"In fact, Ro Teimumu was part of a government that eroded iTaukei land rights by allowing the conversion of native land to freehold title.
"The new Constitution, for example, gives landowners now a fair share of royalties from mining activity.
"There are other protections and benefits.
"In short the truth is that my government has strengthened iTaukei rights, not eroded them."
He said his government had empowered ordinary Fijians by giving them the things they needed to improve their own lives and those of their families.
"But Ro Teimumu wants to take away that power and hand it back to a privileged elite.
"In fact, all of Ro Teimumu's comments indicate someone who wants to drag Fiji back into the past.
"She demonstrably avoids talking about the need to deliver basic services to ordinary Fijians, which has been the cornerstone of my government's reform program — because she was part of an SDL government that always made false promises but never delivered," Commodore Bainimarama said.
"She mentions jobs and economic growth, but what politician wouldn't? Nowhere does she actually present any economic policies or initiatives that will create those jobs and stimulate that growth."
He said the "remarkable economic turnaround" that Fiji was experiencing had not been based on words, but on the smart and consistent policies put in place by his government.