16 Dec 2008

Speculation continues that Fiji is to expel NZ diplomat

2:49 pm on 16 December 2008

There is continued speculation that the Fiji interim regime is about to expel New Zealand's top diplomat in Suva over Wellington's visa policies and travel bans.

However, Fiji's attorney-general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who is a key figure within the regime, says he he can't confirm the reports that the regime is about to proceed with another expulsion.

Last year, Fiji expelled the New Zealand high commissioner, Michael Green.

The interim government says through its travel bans, the New Zealand government is unfairly punishing innocent citizens who are not involved in any way in the country's political affairs.

The bans were imposed as so-called smart sanctions in response to the 2006 military coup - a move similar to the decision in 2000 to refuse entry to those linked to Fiji's previous coup fronted by George Speight.

Meanwhile, a New Zealand television journalist, Barbara Dreaver has been deported a day after arriving in Fiji.

The immigration director Viliame Naupoto has told Radio Fiji she was to have clearance from the Information Department before entering to do her reporting.

In June of last year, another New Zealand journalist, Michael Field, was deported from Fiji after being told on arrival that he was on a list of banned people.