13 Jul 2005

NZ Foreign Minister offers Fiji help over Reconciliation Bill

10:43 am on 13 July 2005

New Zealand's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Phil Goff, says Fiji has taken up an offer by New Zealand to scrutinise its controversial Reconciliation and Unity bill.

Fiji's military warned the government this week that it is leading the country toward anarchy with the bill and that the military is ready to act to protect stability.

Mr Goff says New Zealand arranged for Father Michael Lapsley, who heads South Africa's Institute of Healing of Memories, to visit Fiji for four days of talks late last month.

Mr Goff says he cannot divulge what his government's advice to Fiji on the bill will be.

"But we are trying to work with a cross-section of groups in Fiji and really help them to find a solution. We can't find a solution for them and impose it. They have to find it for themselves. But clearly the measures that we are taking are aimed at trying to facilitate that process and helping the parties towards a solution."