What’s up with the FNPF now? Front page plus page 3 in the Fiji Times on Wednesday 14th, front page and page 3 again today, Thursday 15th. An we now have one Geoff Rashbrooke in the mix in addition to Shauna Tomkins and Stephen Mason. 

1: In Taito-speak we are told that the World Bank, the IMF and the Reserve Bank of Fiji ‘support’ the FNPF reforms. Unfortunately for the FNPF the Fiji Times reporter missed the underlying double-speak of the Taito-babble. 

2: On page one today, Ms Tomkins and Mr Rashbrooke are quoted thus…The reforms are comprehensive and address structure, solvency, refocus on retirement, prudential regulation, governance, greater independence from political interference and sound risk management. The reforms are robust and aim to avoid a repeat of current problems. 

This quote does not mention the arbitrary cutting of current pensions. It is concerned solely with the restructuring of the administration of the FNPF. It is obvious that ‘refocus on retirement’ refers to future pensioners. ‘Refocus on retirement’ cannot be interpreted to mean ‘focus on cutting current pensions. 

The IMF, World Bank and Reserve Bank of Fiji silence is equal to a screaming banshee. Where, in black and white, has one of these institutions declared that the arbitrary cutting of private contributory pensions is advisable? Nowhere. They haven’t and they won’t because the result would be uproar. 

Meanwhile, Tomkins, Rashbrooke and Mason can only stand aside while their words are mangled and misreported. Turn to page 3 to the last paragraph of today’s report. It states…”Pensioners are not being victimised although clearly some individuals will feel a greater financial impact than others”. This is reported as if a direct quote from Tomkins, Rashbrooke and Mason, and that is just too hard to believe they said that. 

Here’s more Taito-prattle. He says…Whilst we can only learn from our past, we should not dwell on it. Well, here’s a bit of Greypower logic for Taito – unless you dwell on your past you’ll learn nothing from it. Pensioners right now are certainly focussed on their past, many of them kicking themselves for not grabbing the lump sum and running with it. They are caught up in thoughts of ‘if only’.  

And he urges those ‘who might be affected to be selfless’. Taito-blab! It is not the pensioners who will need to be selfless – it is their children who will have to support them! Grandchildren? What should have gone towards their education and treats will now be spent on their grandparents; grandparents who are rightfully angry, resentful, and humiliated. 

All this Taito-gibbering in the Fiji Times does nothing but confirm that the FNPF board knows that it is WRONG – and several current pensioners, professional money-men, have the figures to prove that. So please, Taito and board, cut the crap? Don’t tell us again that pensions are being cut world-wide – we know they are – they are government pensions, not private pensions held in trust by a fund owned by its members. Stop telling us that you are being ‘fair to all’ because you are patently NOT. Stop telling us that we were enjoying ‘overly generous’ pensions as if you were doling out favours. 

Until the board goes public with concrete evidence that the IMF, the World Bank, the Reserve Bank of Fiji, and named ‘actuaries and legal experts’ did indeed advise the arbitrary cutting of current pensions, pensioners will not believe one word of Taito’s gibberish no matter how much he witters on.