30 Oct 2008

ACT leader calls for softer New Zealand approach to Fiji regime

7:09 pm on 30 October 2008

The leader of New Zealand's ACT party says New Zealand would be better off taking a less hard approach with the Fiji interim regime.

Speaking on ACT's foreign policy approach in the Pacific ahead of next week's general election, Rodney Hide says the best way New Zealand can engage in the Pacific is to encourage co-operation and trade.

Mr Hide says prosperity is driven by trade, and through this, democracy, tolerance and respect for people's rights can spread.

He says he believes that as Prime Minister, the Labour leader Helen Clark has made a bad habit of telling governments like Fiji's how to run their own country since the 2006 coup.

"I think she has played a bit too much hardball with Fiji, and I'm not an expert no Fijian politics but nor do I think is Helen Clark. It's not always black and white. Sometimes we blunder in from a distance and make things much worse. We've got to have some respect for involving ourselves in domestic politics and some humility."

Rodney Hide