12 Sep 2007

Fiji's interim prime minister says New Zealand Defence Force head understands Fiji

10:18 am on 12 September 2007

Fiji's interim prime minister and military commander says the chief of the New Zealand Defence Force, Major General Jerry Mateparae, showed more understanding of Fiji than did his Australian counterpart.

Radio Legend reports that Commodore Bainimarama made the comment after revealing that the chief of the Australian Defence Force, Air Marshall Angus Houston, had threatened military intervention in a telephone call in the days before the coup.

Commodore Bainimarama says when General Mateparae called him, he was very understanding of what was happening in Fiji.

He said General Mateparae only asked him to protect New Zealand citizens should "anything happen."

Commodore Bainimarama says he recalls telling General Mateparae that he would not only protect New Zealand citizens, but also the citizens of Australia, Britain and Fiji.

Commodore Bainimarama says at least General Mateparae understood what was happening in Fiji.