SAPPORA VII — Hoping to stave off a deepening economic depression, the New Sydney Parliamentary Assembly passed a resolution this week approving the planet’s application for Federation membership.
Chief Minister Jola Nuziar is expected to submit the application next week.
“We must look beyond ourselves to find solutions,” said the Chief Minister in a press conference yesterday. “And by partnering with the Federation, we can get New Sydney back to work.”
Rich in mineral resources, New Sydney’s economy has always heavily depended on trade. For centuries, the planet has attracted prospectors and settlers from across the quadrant, seeking to claim one of the many rich veins of pergium lying just below its crust. As the population grew and interstellar trade increased, the planet’s government evolved from a loose association of private mining enterprises to a planetary republic with a functioning, if somewhat corrupt, public sector.
The diverse population has historically resisted any attempt to ally New Sydney to any other polity, including the Federation, which refers to the planet by its official designation, Sappora VII. The prospect of Federation membership has been soundly defeated in three referenda over the years, most recently in 2370.
However, declining economic fortunes, exacerbated by governmental mismanagement, public health crises, and organized criminal activity, have plunged New Sydney into a severe depression, which has now lasted over a decade.
“The problems began with the falling price of pergium,” said Pili, Professor of Economics at the University of Benzar. “Less pergium meant less was collected in taxes and tariffs, but the government continued spending based on old, outdated revenue projections.”
Battling rising unemployment and plummeting revenue, New Sydney’s debt-ridden government was unable to prevent the Orion Syndicate from establishing a black market economy on the planet.
“By 2380, the government had largely become a front for Syndicate activity in the sector,” said Professor Pili. “Of course, when Starfleet disbanded the Syndicate later that year, the bottom fell out of what little economic activity was left on the planet.”
The beginnings of recovery in the early 2380s were halted by an outbreak of Sapporan pneumoconiosis, a respiratory disease linked to the heavily polluted atmosphere, which killed nearly 20,000 people. Successive governments failed to bring New Sydney back to prosperity, and in late 2392, the planet defaulted on its debts, effectively losing control of its monetary policy to creditors.
A New Hope
For many, Federation membership seems to be the only way out.
“I want to stay here, but there’s no work,” said Yedra Ubell, an unemployed teacher from Ozmat in the planet’s south. “The Federation will invest in our infrastructure, our resources, and that will bring the jobs and the families back.”
Others, like shopkeeper Din Bejo from the the planetary capital Bennelong City, are less optimistic.
“There are too many vested interests here,” he says. “The business class on this planet will never allow the Federation unrestricted access to our markets.”
An inquiry to the Federation Department of the Exterior received the following reply:
“We are unable to provide specific information on the status of applications for Federation membership; however, should the government of Sappora VII submit an application, it will receive the same serious and objective consideration given to all applications.”
Markets on New Sydney were up today following the announcement, but the planet’s path toward Federation membership may not be as simple or speedy as its government hopes, according to Lt. Commander Lyldra, a lead diplomat of Outpost Unity, a joint Federation-Talaxian outpost in the Delta Quadrant. As a representative of the Diplomatic Corps in non-Federation space, Lyldra regularly speaks with non-members who express interest in joining.
“Membership will be tough for them,” she said. “Having to prove they are a united people is a requirement my own world struggled with at its time of application for membership.”
Lyldra’s evaluation included concerns about the planet’s turbulent history and capitalist economy.
“The next phase will be critical. They will have to show us their world is not led by the mercantile elites, and prove they will uphold the values of the Federation.
“They have a good chance,” she concluded, “but I worry about the time this process will take and of course the planet’s past problems and tendencies toward corruption.”
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