1 Apr 2004

Fiji Labour leader regrets NZ silence on Qarase's coup comment

4:05 pm on 1 April 2004

The leader of the Fiji Labour Party has expressed surprise that the New Zealand government has not responded to a speech by the Fiji prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, outlining his views on the coup.

Speaking in Wellington, Mr Qarase said the coups of 1987 and 2000 were a tragedy but there was a context to them which indigenous Fijians understood.

Mr Chaudhry says Mr Qarase should not insult the Fijian psyche by implying that it condoned terrorist acts of treason and subversion so long as they are cloaked in the garb of indigenous rights.

Mr Chaudhry, who was held hostage, says New Zealand's silence goes against its efforts to stabilise the region.

"How can New Zealand tolerate such non-sense? Now, New Zealand sends troops to Solomon Islands to suppress this kind of things. Here is a prime minister who is talking in support of it. I'm quite disappointed that there hasn't been a reaction from the New Zealand government to this stupid statement by the prime minister."