POVERTY is the issue of public interest this week.
The Tebbutt-Times Poll has revealed that poverty in Fiji was highlighted by the 1036 respondents as the third biggest issue facing Fiji at the moment, behind unemployment and the high cost of living.
The poll asked voters from the urban and peri-urban areas of Suva, Nasinu, Lami, Nausori, Nadi, Lautoka and Ba the question: What are the biggest issues facing people like you right now?
Following this, 32 per cent of them said Fiji's poverty rates were a big issue, behind the biggest issue (unemployment) and the second biggest being the high living cost.
The research indicated that when the respondents were asked the question for the first time, 10 per cent of them mentioned poverty.
The respondents were then asked a second time to indicate their largest concerns for election year and the number of people who mentioned poverty had increased from 10 per cent to 32 per cent.
The poll, over the last three weeks, has indicated that the three biggest problems facing Fiji today — problems which require urgent attention — are unemployment, cost of living and poverty.
Altogether, the research indicates, these three issues alone account for 65 per cent of all the responses from the 1036 people interviewed.
The next government must seriously address the issue of increasing poverty, because this is one area that the people of Fiji are concerned about.
Proof is in this week's poll results by the Tebbutt-Times Poll.
A majority 65 per cent of 1036 people interviewed mentioned these three, which means a major challenge faces the government of the day to deal with them in a timely manner.
If, when, and how they will map our strategies will be interesting to witness and will reflect how genuine they have the people's interests at heart.
While political parties have outlined what they plan to do, it will be interesting to note how they will put words into action.
It will also be interesting to see how they address the issue of poverty to fulfill the dreams of a better living standard for ordinary Fijians.
Will the political parties be able to walk the talk or will they just continue to make promises is an issue that would be before us in months to come when Fijians go to the poll on September 17.