Reopening of the NZ High Commission in Fiji

The Green Party supports the Minister of Foreign Affairs’ statement. We support the reopening of the high commission in Fiji and we favour dialogue, but we say that this dialogue should be not just with the military regime but with all sections of the Fijian community. It should not be seen as a sign that somehow things are getting better in Fiji, because they are not. Unfortunately, the longer that the military regime stays in power, the more it gets used to being in charge, to throwing its weight around, and to abusing the rights of its citizens, so I do not see that this re-establishment of relations is in any way an accommodation to the regime.

Just recently, on 30 December, the three magistrates were sacked. This follows on from the decision made in July last year to get rid of the Chief Magistrate, Ajmal Khan, and another magistrate. The judiciary is being seriously undermined. There have also been continuing attacks on the media, which have got worse recently, particularly with the changes to the sedition laws that enable people to be prosecuted and imprisoned even for what they write on blog sites on the Internet. If Fijian citizens living outside the country return to Fiji, they can also be subject to these new sedition laws. The sedition laws also allow publications, websites, and all kinds of things to be closed down by the regime.

Opposition voices are being suppressed. Just recently the Government said it had the right to cancel the pensions of those who were, effectively, dissident voices in the community. I think even former general, General Rabuka, was affected by that. What we need is dialogue, not only from New Zealand but together with the Pacific Islands Forum, the European Union, the United Nations, etc., all combining to put pressure on the regime to return the country to democracy, to democratic elections. Sanctions are part of this, although of course they have to be finely targeted to affect members of the regimes, and it is good that over the last couple of years we have not had the cases of scouts wanting to come here being affected, and things like that. The sanctions should be focused on the members of the regime, not necessarily on their families. If we do combine with the international community we can make some progress. Thank you.


House of Representatives