7 Jan 2009

New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister says mixed messages from Suva, Fiji

8:01 am on 7 January 2009

New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, says the Prime Minister has not replied to the letter as yet because of the mixed message being received from Suva.

He says on the one hand New Zealand's representative has been thrown out of the country and on the other the interim Prime Minister is writing about how to improve relations between the two countries.

Mr McCully says the issue will be raised in Cabinet when it resumes later this month, but it will be up to New Zealand's Prime Minister to decide how to respond as the letter is addressed to him:

"But the advice I will give is that having received mixed messages and more recently something of an attempt to rewrite history on the behalf of the Fiji administration, we'll just take things forward carefully. We don't want to read to much into what they have proposed here, but neither do we want to miss an opportunity to move things in a more positive direction than they've taken in recent times."

Mr McCully says the Fiji administration has changed the background to the expulsion of New Zealand's diplomat from a stand off over a student visa, to accusations of a hostile attitude being displayed by the acting High commissioner.

Mr McCully says the interim administration missed an opportunity to take advantage of an incoming government in New Zealand to engage constructively.