4 Jul 2007

NZ foreign minister rejects Bainimarama claims on sanctions impact

8:09 pm on 4 July 2007

New Zealand's Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, is rejecting claims by Fiji's military leader that his government's latest sanctions are likely to affect Fiji's return to democracy.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama has singled out the extended travel ban against the Fiji government, and says New Zealand seems "hell-bent" on punishing credible people who are helping to bring about necessary change in Fiji.

Winston Peters says you do not have to travel to New Zealand to organise an election in Fiji.

"People who need to gain their mandate out of the barrel of a gun have no credibility. And I just want to make this very clear: new Zealand is a country which believes that democracy is for all the Pacific."

Winston Peters says New Zealand wants to see real progress towards elections in Fiji as soon as possible.