24 Mar 2006

Fiji military rejects NZ legal opinion

10:16 am on 24 March 2006

Fiji's military has rejected a New Zealand legal opinion on its constitutional role.

A senior military spokesman, Lt Col Orisi Rabukawaqa, has told the Fiji Times the New Zealand interpretation was handed to them by the vice president, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi.

Lt Col Rabukawaqa says it contradicts the military's interpretation of the constitution which makes it responsible for the security, defence and wellbeing of Fiji and its peoples.

The New Zealand opinion is based on the view that the 1997 Constitution repealed the post-Rabuka coup 1990 Constitution which made the military responsible for the wellbeing of Fiji and its people.

Lt Col Rabukawaqa says since the interpretation is from New Zealand, the military is under no obligation to follow it.