24 Jan 2003

New Zealand to help Fiji judicial authorities if asked

12:41 pm on 24 January 2003

The New Zealand government says it is ready and willing to assist the public prosecutors office in Fiji, if help is wanted to bring charges against people implicated in the coup of May 2000.

The opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, says the lack of willingness by the Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute those behind the coup smacks of a gigantic cover-up.

And the director of the Citizen's Constitutional Forum, the Reverend Akuila Yabaki, says an under-resourced police force is investigating people but the DPP is not taking the cases further.

He says there is a need for international assistance to improve the office's capacity.

New Zealand's foreign minister, Phil Goff, says if NZAID receives a formal request for help it will be considered.

"They would then examine the importance of that particular project, what would be produced if it were to go ahead, what might be the consequence if no action was taken and a decision would be made in that light. We don't interfere in the local politics of the country but we do offer properly elected governments assistance with justice, policing and good governance."

Phil Goff