20 Jun 2007

Fiji has to prove its serious about elections says NZ's prime minister

10:27 am on 20 June 2007

The New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark, says Fiji's coup leader and interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has only himself to blame for the downturn in Fiji's economy.

Miss Clark also says Fiji must prove it wants to return to democracy before New Zealand can take its stated intentions seriously.

Fiji's interim government has agreed in principle to a working group's finding that elections could be held by March 2009.

But, Commodore Bainimarama first wants help from New Zealand and Australia to get Fiji back on track economically, blaming his critics for the downturn in tourism and investment.

Miss Clark says he has only himself to blame.

"The economy will be in a worse way if he does not put the place on the course to Constitutional government because he is relying on funding in particular from the European Union to help restructure the disastrous sugar industry, his economy is crumbling around him now."

Commodore Frank Bainimarama says if Fiji's economy declines further, the elections may be delayed.