16 Sep 2003

Solomons opposition hopes NZ will pressure government into corruption probe

10:23 am on 16 September 2003

The Solomon Islands opposition says it hopes that the New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark, will use her visit to Honiara next week to push for probes into top-level corruption.

Miss Clark will be accompanied by the defence minister, Mark Burton, to observe the more than 200 New Zealand defence and police personnel sent to Guadalcanal.

Their visit comes less than a month after the Australian prime minister, John Howard, made a brief visit to Solomon Islands during which he pledged further aid.

The opposition's foreign affairs spokesperson, Alfred Sasako, says if there is any more New Zealand help it should be made conditional.

"Aid should be used to provide some leverage that unless the Prime Minister steps aside so that he is not in the way of a police investigation that the release of the aid should not be done."

Alfred Sasako