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The pressing ballot issue

Nasik Swami
Saturday, June 07, 2014

THIS week, The Fiji Times brings to you the second biggest election issue — the high cost of living.

A stark reality faced by majority of households in the country.

This revelation came to light in the Times-Tebbutt Poll, a survey conducted over a month in urban and peri-urban areas of the Central and Western divisions.

The poll found unemployment as the top most pressing issue today.

With it were concerns for our high inflation and the rate of poverty and crime, among others.

Two questions were asked of 1036 adults surveyed (comprising those as young as 18 years to those 45 years and over) — "what is the single biggest issue facing Fiji as a nation" and "what about people like you, in your age group and with your lifestyle, what are the biggest issues facing people like you right now"?

Forty seven per cent identified the high cost of living as a pressing problem.

There have been many ideas, especially from members and candidates of political parties, on what they will do to address the two problems.

And there have been many promises as well to people to attract their attention and, obviously, their votes.

But it's one thing to come up with bright ideas and another to implement them effectively.

Walking the talk is the challenge the next government will face. Now is ideally the right time for parties to start strategising solutions on various issues people face.

It is the people they must aspire to serve.

At the end of the day, a struggling man and woman stands to either benefit or lose out, depending on those who make it to office to live up to their promises.

As last week's results highlighted, unemployment as the biggest election issue affecting ordinary Fijians, majority in tertiary age groups and graduates, the relationship between unemployment and high cost of living speaks volumes on the pressures people face.

Come to think about it, one can only recall the power of $100 three to five years ago and compare the same buying power today.

While other registered parties and proposed candidates have responded to the revelation of this poll, newly-registered FijiFirst did not comment on how it intends to address the high cost of living.





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