Suspended Nauru MPs just doing their jobs - NZ MP
A New Zealand Opposition MP says he hopes the Nauru Government recognises that three suspended MPs were just doing their job of trying to keep it honest.
The spokesperson on foreign affairs for the New Zealand Labour Party, David Shearer, says he hopes the Nauru government will quickly re-instate three MPs it suspended last week.
The Opposition MPs, Kieren Keke, Mathew Batsiua and Roland Kun were suspended from parliament, with the government claiming they had blackened the country's name overseas.
Mr Shearer told Don Wiseman he believes the three were doing what oppositions are meant to do.
DAVID SHEARER: As an opposition member my role is to look at and interrogate the government on what they're doing and ensure we have the greatest degree of transparency and accountability. I believe that that's exactly what the opposition in Nauru should be doing. And of course sometimes it'll look like it's trying to blacken or sully its reputation but so long as it's kept in to the context of making or keeping the government accountable, I think that's perfectly acceptable and I think that's what happens in every democracy and I would hope that Nauru is able to see that. Likewise I hope the opposition is able to keep their comments in check and not make baseless accusations but it is the role of oppositions to hold the government to account.
DON WISEMAN: The three MPs have asked for regional organisations or international bodies such as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to speak out. That is yet to happen. I know that the chair in New Zealand has no comment to make. Do you think a body like that should step in and offer advice?
DS: Look I think it would be unusual for it to do that and what you would hope to have happen is that Nauru is able to resolve its own differences rather than calling in outsiders. Sometimes outsiders can aggravate rather than resolve a situation. I mean the CPA doesn't normally do that sort of thing. It's normally not its role. Yes it could do it under exceptional circumstances but I think the first port of call or the first position has to be that the government and the opposition sit down and resolve it in Nauru rather than calling in outsiders.
DW: Yet Nauru becomes very much a dictatorship under a situation like this and to a large extent because there's little media or little media freedom it would seem in Nauru, these MPs have no recourse.
DS: It's going down a pretty difficult track at the moment. They've been expelled. I mean there's obviously some degree of sympathy towards them looking at the support they're getting out there in their local community. It would be, I believe, not a wise thing for the Nauru government to do, to have the situation continue as it is at the moment. It would be looking like, certainly to outsiders, that it's undermining the very fabric of democracy and coming on the top of the magistrate and the Chief Justice - they've been effectively expelled from their positions, these are both outsiders but nevertheless they've got an important role to play. I believe the government needs to as quickly, as soon as possible, resolve the situation and I would have thought the best place for debate to take place in is inside the parliament and not have these three MPs outside, not able to enter.
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