18 Dec 2008

Fiji visa row father says he did not pressure government

9:06 am on 18 December 2008

The father of a student at the centre of a row between New Zealand and Fiji said he has not asked the Fiji government to pressure New Zealand on his son's behalf.

Fiji's interim government has threatened expel New Zealand's acting high commissioner unless New Zealand grants a visa to the son of the principal secretary to Fiji's president, so he can resume his studies in New Zealand.

George Nacewa previously studied in New Zealand, but is banned from entering the country under the Government's post-coup ban on visas for top members of the ruling military and their families.

His father Rupeni Nacewa told Morning Report he had not raised the issue of his son's student visa with the Fiji government but considers New Zealand's decision not to renew the student visa as harsh.

Rupeni Nacewa said he would not consider quitting his job in the office of President Josefa Iloilo as he is a career civil servant who works for the government of the day.

"I have been with the president's office since 2004 so I see no reason why I should give up my job," he said.

In the latest move in the diplomatic row, Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully on Wednesday received a letter from Fiji's self-imposed leader, Frank Bainimarama, outlining his views on the standoff.

Mr McCully would not divulge the contents of the letter, but described it as robust and said he was in no doubt as to Commodore Bainimarama's views.