17 Nov 2015

NZ offers help in Fiji police shake-up

3:51 pm on 17 November 2015

New Zealand prime minister John Key says his country is willing to support the Fiji police force transition between commissioners - if it wants the help.

John key on the bridge at Parliament.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Police commissioner Ben Groenewald resigned last week, citing interference by the military.

The government then appointed land force commander Colonel Sitiveni Qiliho as the acting commissioner.

John Key said he would have preferred if the outgoing police commissioner was not replaced with a military commander.

"Fiji's a country that's been beset by coups over the last two decades and we'd hate to see a situation where it starts moving back away from democracy and those independence pillars that any decent society relies on, including independence for the judiciary and the police."

Mr Key said after recent elections Fiji's democracy was still in a fragile state and he would hate for it to be eroded.

Fiji's police commissioner Bernadus Groenewald. Appointed in May 2014.

Ben Groenewald Photo: RNZI/ Sally Round

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