6 May 2009

Hone Harawira could ignore PM's wishes by going to Fiji

9:53 pm on 6 May 2009

Fiji's Attorney General says the interim government would welcome a Maori delegation to Suva, but there's a dispute over who could go from New Zealand.

The Maori Party's parliamentary caucus wants to send a team to hear first hand the reasons behind the actions of Fiji's interim regime.

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira is considering visiting Fiji as part of the delegation.

The Prime Minister John Key says no Government minister will be allowed to go, as it could misconstrue the New Zealand Government's position on Fiji.

Mr Key says he has no control over other MPs, but he's made it clear he'd prefer to see no New Zealand politicians making the trip.

The Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says he understands Mr Key's stance, and doesn't believe Mr Harawira's trip will damage the partnership with National.

Mr Harawira says the relationship between New Zealand and Fiji has stalled, and the delegation may be able to provide a circuit breaker.

Fiji's Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum says it's about time for an overseas delegation to engage in dialogue with the regime.

He says there have been many accusations and opinions thrown at the regime and it would be happy to convey it's position to a New Zealand delegation.

Fiji's interim government has stated that no elections will be held before 2014.

Samoa denies bullying claim

Samoa says New Zealand and Australia did not bully the Pacific Islands Forum to suspend Fiji.

Mr Khaiyum made the claim, and was backed by a congressman from American Samoa.

But Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi told Morning Report on Wednesday the Attorney General had got it wrong.

He said there was no pressure exerted on other countries to suspend Fiji, and claimed there was an attempt by Fiji's Prime Minister to cause division in the forum.

Fijian president Ratu Josefa Iloilo reappointed Commodore Frank Bainimarama as interim prime minister on 11 April, two days after the Court of Appeal ruled his government was illegal.

Last week, the Pacific Forum suspended Fiji after Commodore Bainimarama failed to meet a deadline to announce elections and extended emergency laws.

The commodore seized control in December 2006. It was the fourth coup in Fiji since 1987.