19 Aug 2008

NZ-based Fiji group says Wellington is lenient with Fiji regime

3:32 pm on 19 August 2008

The Auckland-based group Democracy for Fiji says New Zealand should continue with its firm stance on Fiji.

Fiji's interim Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama says New Zealand and Australia are unfairly picking on Fiji at the expense of unity among Pacific island countries.

The interim government says its delegation will not be attending the Pacific Forum leaders' summit, in protest at being unable to attend the series of bi-lateral talks in Auckland.

However, Nik Naidu a spokesperson for the group, says it appears that Fiji is looking for an excuse not to attend the forum, in order to avoid facing questions over promised general elections by next March.

"I think New Zealand is very lenient in allowing him to transit, I think the transit visas should never have been allowed...they should have asked him to take a boat to the forum. Because we have to stand firm on our sanctions, they are working, it is affecting the regime, they can't travel, and it is having the desired effect of bringing them down and negotiating a solution to Fiji."

Nik Naidu says Commodore Bainimarama is allowed to go to the Forum, and he should go.

The Fiji NGO the Pacific Centre for Public Integrity has denounced the decision by Commodore Bainimarama to pull out of the Forum meeting.

It says his lies and posturing have come full circle, and he and his unelected regime do not have the guts to face the democratically elected leaders.