20 Jun 2007

NZ's ousted High Commissioner not hopeful Fiji will return to democracy soon

9:54 am on 20 June 2007

New Zealand's ousted High Commissioner says he's not hopeful Fiji will return to democracy in the short to medium term.

Michael Green was ordered out of Fiji after the interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, accused him of meddling in the country's domestic affairs - a charge New Zealand denies.

He arrived back in New Zealand yesterday.

He says his expulsion was "an occupational hazard" and he had been formally warned by Fiji's government after a speech he gave about six weeks ago.

Mr Green says he can't see democracy returning there anytime soon.

"Well I think and I hope that it will happen but the signals we are getting are and the trends we are seeing in Fiji are not terribly promising at the moment."

Mr Green says he's grateful for the support of Foreign Minister Winston Peters, Prime Minister Helen Clark and his team in Suva.