12 Jun 2011

NZ to allow Mara to visit

5:05 pm on 12 June 2011

The Government intends to allow dissident former Fiji military officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Tevita Mara, to visit New Zealand.

Colonel Mara fled to Tonga last month after being charged with sedition.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says a ban that applied earlier to Colonel Mara will be relaxed and he will be able to come to New Zealand for two days.

But the ban is not being ended completely at this stage, because by his own admission, Colonel Mara was involved in human rights abuses in Fiji.

However, the minister says he wants to take some action to provide encouragement to other people to break with the Fiji regime.

Prime Minister John Key says he will not meet with Colonel Mara, but Colonel Mara will probably meet with a senior official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.