14 Apr 2003

New Zealand foreign minister says Fiji still has problems dating back to 2000 coup

10:35 am on 14 April 2003

The New Zealand government is to give almost 220 thousand US dollars to help ease the effects of Cyclone Ami on the Fiji town of Labasa.

Half of that money will go to schools in the town.

Just under 60 thousand will go to the Save The Children Fund to provide school uniforms, lunches and school travel, while the remainder will support rehabilitation projects.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister, Phil Goff,who is in in Fiji as part of efforts to normalise relationships after the 2000 coup says Fiji still faces difficulties following the overthrow of the Chaudhry government.

"It still has problems. It has problems with political parties based on communal groups, but I think one could be more confident about Fiji. There is a court case coming up in June. The prime minister is committed to observing the rule of law. Whatever the Supreme Court rules, he is prepared to implement in constitutional terms."

The Supreme Court hearing in June should finally resolve the make-up of Fiji's cabinet.