“Former FijiFirst Party Member accepts new role as crossbench MP”

Former member of the now de-registered FijiFirst Party, Viliame Naupoto, today addressed the Parliamentary chamber for the first time as a crossbench Member of Parliament, expressing his support for the 2024-25 National Budget. Naupoto acknowledged that his new position came about due to a decision he made in Parliament, a choice he does not regret, and other decisions made outside of Parliament.

Members of Parliament who are neither part of the Government nor the Opposition sit on the crossbench. “Let me at the outset say, that the decisions made outside of this Parliament were theirs to make, which I respect, and the reasoning behind their decisions, I will not question,” Naupoto remarked.

He accepted his current situation and stated that he will serve as a crossbench Member of Parliament for the remainder of the term. “I have made my choice also, and as the saying goes: ‘You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequence of your choice.’ That, I understand very well,” he added.

Despite the recent changes, Naupoto expressed a sense of freedom in his role, emphasizing his ability to exercise independent judgment, consult across different parties, and collaborate with others to best serve the citizens.

“Today is a new start for me,” he declared. “Democracy is only partly about votes and Legislature, but it is mostly about human encounters and interaction. It’s about debating and compromising across people with different beliefs and political affiliations. We may not fully understand each other, but we begin to see and respect one another.”

He also criticized the divisive politics of “Us versus Them” and the “My way or the Highway” approach, which he noted still influences Parliament. Naupoto argued that this type of politics breeds anger and hatred, and is not a good example for the multi-racial, multi-cultural, and multi-religious society they serve.

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