2 Feb 2007

New Zealand and Australian prime ministers banned from entering Fiji

6:00 am on 2 February 2007

The New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark, and her Australian counterpart, John Howard, have been banned from entering Fiji.

Fiji TV reports that both Miss Clark and Mr Howard have been declared prohibited immigrants and their names added to a watch list maintained at Nadi Airport and other ports of entry.

The move appears to be in retaliation against bans placed by New Zealand and Australia on many thousands of Fiji citizens.

Both countries have banned the entry of members of Fiji's interim administration, all soldiers, senior public servants and members of their families.

New Zealand and Australia have also been cancelling the visas of such persons who were already there at the time of the military takeover.

The New Zealand immigration service in Fiji has introduced a new form asking all those applying for visas a series of questions whether they, their relatives and associates are in the military or have any association with the activities of the military or its commander.

Fiji's interim prime minister, Commodore Bainimarama, is specifically named in several of the questions.