9 Jun 2015

NZ should be cautious of support for Fiji military

2:34 pm on 9 June 2015

A regional security academic says New Zealand should assist its Pacific neighbours but be wary of support for the current Fiji military system.

Paul Sinclair spoke recently at a symposium held in Wellington on the New Zealand Government's review of its defence policy through the Defence White Paper.

Victoria University's Dean of Commerce says the Māori Business Programme has struggled to achieve a significant numbers of students.

Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: PHOTO NZ

Earlier this year defence ties between the two countries resumed and Mr Sinclair, who works out of Victoria University's Centre for Strategic Studies, says New Zealand should take a cautious approach.

He says Fiji military forces for the past 30 years have undermined, rather than underpinned, democracy.

"I think we just need to be cautious about the resumption of defence assistance to Fiji, it just needs to be measured to ensure that the most appropriate, the most relevant capabilities are fostered and to try and help inculcate that democratic instinct which seems to have been lacking in the Fiji military in recent years."

Paul Sinclair says the military in Fiji is also a huge drain on the country's economy.