19 Jul 2012

Alleged plot puts new twist on NZ Fiji relations, says academic

5:36 pm on 19 July 2012

A New Zealand-based academic says investigations into an alleged plot in New Zealand to kill Fiji's regime leader has put a significant new twist on relations between the two countries.

Dr Steven Ratuva, who teaches Pacific Studies at Auckland University, says moves by New Zealand's security agency, the SIS, to foil an alleged plot against Commodore Frank Bainimarama could be seen in Fiji as a political signal.

He says the James Bond-style episode involving a raid on the home of a New Zealand-based Fiji national comes as New Zealand tries to re-engage with the regime which has promised democratic elections in 2014.

"The question is why now? Why not earlier? The rumours of assassination have been there for some time. People talk about it openly within the Fijian community. Whatever the truth in the allegations is, just the symbolism of what the SIS has done, it probably is going to warm up the relationship much more."

New Zealand-based academic, Dr Steven Ratuva.