14 Apr 2009

Sanctions against Fiji unproductive, says NZ academic

3:20 pm on 14 April 2009

A New Zealand academic with long links to the Pacific is warning that further sanctions against Fiji will not hasten a return to democracy there.

Since the abrogation of the constitution and the re-imposition of a military led government last week, there are calls for additional restrictions to be placed on Fiji.

But Canterbury University political scientist, Dr John Henderson, says the sanctions imposed by Australia and New Zealand after the 2006 military coup have failed and extending them now would be the wrong approach.

He says it is vital to keep dialogue open.

"Like it or not, Fiji is going to be our neighbour for the foreseeable future and we have to learn to live with it and at least keep a dialogue open so we can talk to each other rather than shout each other out through making criticisms. So while we have to make it clear that we are opposed to the military rule, we are in favour of democratic rule, and that will remain our position, we have to keep a dialogue going with Fiji."

Dr John Henderson