Fiji Water Closed?

Photo of Fiji Military by Flickr Member JSA_NZMore than a year since the great investigative reporter Anna Lenzer published her article on the story behind Fiji water (also appearing as a guest on this podcast), the company announced this week it is closing its operation in Fiji.  After a long relationship with the ruling military junta, the company announced on their blog on Nov 29:

In Friday’s budget (11.26.10), the Fiji government announced that it will impose a 15-cent per liter tax on bottled water at locations where more than 3.5M liters per month are extracted.  FIJI Water, which currently pays 1/3 of a cent per liter, is the only bottled water producer in Fiji affected by the increased tax; bottlers who extract less than this monthly limit will continue to pay about 1/10 of a cent, or 10,000% less tax than FIJI Water.

This new tax is untenable and, as a consequence, FIJI Water is left with no choice but to close our facility in Fiji, effective Monday, Nov. 29, 2010. We are saddened that we have been forced to make a business decision that will result in hardship to hundreds of Fijians who will now be without work.

They went on to refer to the government of Fiji and the terrible state the country is in:

The country is increasingly unstable, and is becoming a very risky place in which to invest.

24 Hours later the company makes a new announcement explaining that after discussions with the government, its factory will reopen:

Through our discussions, we have also agreed to comply with Fiji’s new water tax law……Moving forward, FIJI Water is committed to working with the Fijian government,  and remains dedicated to helping the country’s economy and its people.

An odd turn of events, first that they decide yesterday, after more than a year of dealing with an undemocratic government with a questionable human rights record, that they had finally reached their breaking point. Then that after one day of discussions, the government is not as bad as they explained the day before, and that all is fine.  It actually impressive they didn’t delete the post from the 29th altogether, pretending it never happened. Perhaps the heavy amount of proof scattered around the internet would have been difficult to take back.

There is much to ask of both the Fiji government, the water company, and drinkers of Fiji water to understand what is going on here.  Unfortunately in what has long been an unsustainable operation, doing more harm then self-proclaimed good on this planet, it looks like business as usual.  Not that Fiji water drinkers ever really asked anything about the bottle they continue to hold in their hands.

More on this and hopefully some answers to these questions: soon.

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4 thoughts on “Fiji Water Closed?

  • December 1, 2010 at 2:36 pm
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    Hi Mark!
    Amazing coincidence! I just revisited your website to look for an old episode about Fiji water only to see it as the last topic on the front page!
    I went to Fiji last October and only recently I realised that there is a story behind its water…
    I wonder how it will impact countries dependent on it. Such as Kiritimati where I was doing my research. Fiji water seemed to be the main supplier of bottled water there… Mind you, island is very limited in water and food supplies.

    keep up great work

    • December 3, 2010 at 2:13 am
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      wow that is a cool coincidence. I spoke with Anna and she’s back on the podcast tomorrow! she’s been writing on the issue and has lots of new revelations Im trying to get up to speed with. more soon–

    • December 7, 2010 at 2:26 am
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      Very Good News
      Fiji Government was taken advantages from weathly americans who invested few dollars and intend to earns billions of dollars.

      Its now time Fiji should impose high tax . Fiji Water is having free ride in Fiji while the country is struggling. The owner of Fiji water seems cheifs and Fiji Govt is are uneducated and easily manupilated to earn $.

      Please Fiji Water pay $50cent per liter and reinvest all your profits to Fijian economy if you want to operate in Fiji and be sucessfull.

      There is no major sposer or venture you have done for the economy but only small smalll sposers and family help or job u have provided.

      Look how much u made from FIJI WATER.
      THE WATER BELONGS TO GOD AND WAS GIVEN TO FIJIANS
      U HAVE CONVERTED TO MERCHASIE AND ON TOP OF IT TAKING ALL YOUR PROFITS TO USA.

  • December 2, 2010 at 4:01 pm
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    the water will be cause for war in the next millennium to get there

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